All the President’s men: 5 officials defended by Aquino
MANILA, Philippines—President Benigno Aquino III has made this clear: He stands by his men.
President Benigno Aquino III said Friday that he still trusts General Alan Purisima, Philippine National Police (PNP) Director, to lead the nation’s police force. The defense stemmed from calls for the ouster of Purisima over the alleged involvement of 10 policemen in the P2-million robbery-abduction incident on Edsa in Mandaluyong City last Sept.1.
Aquino’s pronouncement was not the first time that the Palace was forced to shield government officials who were caught in various controversies.
PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima
Purisima hails from Ilocos Sur and was appointed as the 18th director general of the PNP in December 2012.
The police chief is currently facing a P100 million plunder charge over his alleged involvement in a license delivery deal. The PNP allegedly entered into a contract with a company which is not yet registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission during the time when the deal was brokered.
The police chief was also dragged to the alleged overpriced renovation of the “White House”, a residence inside Camp Crame currently occupied by Purisima. The renovation allegedly cost P25 million.
Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) said Tuesday that Purisima should step down in order to save the PNP in connection with the recent crimes involving its policemen such as the Edsa “hulidap,” and the kidnapping of a Chinese national by two Bulacan policemen on Monday.
DSWD Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman
Soliman was appointed as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) secretary by Aquino on June 30, 2010. She once held the same position during the term of former President and now Pampanga fourth district representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, but resigned.
The Social Welfare Secretary is recently hounded by controversies after the Commission on Audit (COA) revealed that P5.6 billion intended for the Conditional Cash Transfer program remains unliquidated. Also, COA identified that P2.7 million worth of food packs intended for typhoon “Yolanda” survivors rotted due to “mishandling”. Despite these issues, Malacañang maintained that Soliman enjoys the trust of the President.
DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya
Abaya, a three-term representative from Cavite, was appointed as the transportation secretary replacing Manuel “Mar” Roxas II in 2012. He chaired the House Committee on Appropriations during the 15th Congress.
Abaya was recently placed in hot water after a Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT 3) train overshot its tracks at Taft Avenue station last month and injured 38 passengers. The incident brought to fore the problems plaguing the said train system.
A Senate probe was also conducted to investigate the incident. Despite calls for Abaya’s ouster, the Palace said that Aquino still trusts Abaya.
DBM Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad
Abad was appointed by Aquino as the secretary of the Department of Budget and Management in June 2010. Before being appointed as the budget secretary, he was the campaign manager of the Liberal Party during the 2010 elections.
The budget secretary came under fire in 2013 after he was tagged as the chief architect of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) of the Aquino administration. Parts of DAP were ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in July. Critics alleged that DAP was a means for the government to pillage its funds.
Amid the furor, Abad tendered his resignation last July but Aquino did not accept it. The Palace maintained that the DAP was constitutional and that Abad did not do anything wrong.
DA Secretary Proceso Alcala
Alcala was appointed by Aquino as Department of Agriculture secretary in June 2010. Before his appointment to the post, he was a two-term representative from Quezon Province.
Last January, a P1.07 billion plunder charge was filed against Alcala and National Agribusiness Corp. (Nabcor) President Honesto Baniqued in the Office of the Ombudsman by Sanlakas party-list. The two allegedly amassed the said amount from the P11.4 billion unaccounted funds of Nabcor.
While Aquino has appointed former senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan as the Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization, Malacañang said that Alcala “still enjoys the President’s full trust and confidence.”
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