PNoy on plunder rap: What did I gain?
MANILA - President Aquino fends off as "absurd" charges of plunder against himself, Agricuture Secretary Proceso Alcala and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad that have reportedly been languishing before the Ombudsman since last year.
Aquino said an element of plunder may not be present in the cases, describing the complaint as absurd.
“Kung sakaling tama ka na plunder ‘yung finile (file) nilang case, ‘yung sa totoo lang po, napaka-curious ako: ano ba ho supposed to be ang na-gain ko dito? ‘Yung element kasi ng plunder you have to have personal gain. So what did I, Secretary Abad, or Secretary Alcala gain?" he said in an interview with Palace reporters.
"So siguro dapat pasalamatan natin sila kung gaano ka-absurdo ‘yung mga minumungkahi nila kung minsan, ano, na talaga namang napapaigting kung gaano katindi ‘yung solusyon na minumungkahi natin."
The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas filed last October a plunder complaint against Aquino, Abad and Alcala in connection with the P10 billion pork barrel scam involving lawmakers' pork barrel funds.
In including Aquino as respondent, KMP Secretary General Antonio Flores cited the Doctrine of Qualified Political Agency. He said the acts committed by the Cabinet are deemed acts of the President.
Malacañang has dismissed the complaint as a publicity stunt. Aquino enjoys immunity from lawsuits throughout his presidential term.
A Manila Standard Today report also said Aquino, Abad and Alcala, along with the members of the so-called Quezon mafia, are facing charges of plunder, malversation, graft and corruption, incompetence and collusion in four separate complaints filed before the Ombudsman.
PNoy backs Alcala
Meanwhile, the President said he still has confidence in Alcala and noted his achievements as head of the Department of Agriculture.
This is despite allegations that the agriculture chief profited from the National Agribusiness Corp. (NABCOR) scam.
Aquino said he has to weigh the criticisms against Alcala and his accomplishments. He credited Alcala for stabilizing rice prices even without additional imports after the onslaught of super typhoon "Yolanda."
"Number one, pinangako sa atin ‘yung self-sufficiency dapat last year, dumating lang si Yolanda. At nagkaroon ng debate at some point in time, dapat ba tayong mag-import, or supisyente at tama ang sinasabi ng DA? So up to—ano ba?—September yata ng 2013 e, stable po ‘yung presyo ng bigas, so parang I think hindi tayo pumayag na dagdagan ‘yung import na lampas doon sa minumungkahi ng DA," he said.
"Yung stability ng presyo indicative na mukhang tama ‘yung sinasabi ng DA. So ang balanse po nito, may nagawa siyang positibo, merong akusasyon ngayon, tulad ng sinuman, palagay ko ho may karapatan siya (doon sa) presumption of innocence until proven guilty," he said.
The President also maintained the government will go by the evidence and will not file "ampaw" or hollow cases against other allies linked to the scam.
"Hindi na siguro ako dapat magsalita, pakitaan na lang namin ng aksyon...Pagdating sa korte at nagsampa ka ng ampaw na kaso at na-dismiss ‘yung kaso, siguro kami na naman ang masisisi. Naninigurado tayo na ‘pag nagsampa tayo ng kaso matibay ang ebidensya at magkakaroon ng tamang paghahatol," he said.