MANILA - After being criticized by the opposition last week for allegedly being insensitive and inept, President Aquino came out swinging yesterday, stressing he could never be pinned down for robbing the poor as he ensures that government resources are used to improve their plight.
Speaking at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport where he oversaw the groundbreaking of a new passenger terminal, Aquino said it was “really insulting” to even just imply that his ruling Liberal Party would use the P14.4-billion payment for the upgrading of the facility for the campaign.
It was former Cebu governor Lito Osmeña who made the statement as the GMR-Megawide consortium paid the premium to the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority when it was awarded the 25-year concession in April 2014.
“You know it’s really insulting because in the first place, do you know any thief who will announce what he will steal before stealing? And after that, I don’t know, (you) identify what we will steal and we will still succeed? So they’re trying to say our party is not just a thief, but stupid as well,” Aquino said.
“That’s really too much of an insult. But that’s life. I would just have swallowed it but maybe you can read the process so you could see that this would go directly to the national treasury where only Congress has the right on where to bring the funds,” he added.
The President also noted that by the time Congress makes a decision, the elections will long be over.
“So to this person who talked, as I was informed, if you got no one to talk to, I would ask (Social Welfare) Secretary (Corazon) Soliman to help you find someone to talk to,” Aquino added.
For his part, Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, who was with the President, said the administration has nothing to fear because “our conscience is clear and our work is clean.”
“We are not thieves. We do not plunder the money of the people and it is very clear, our work in the administration of the President is transparent,” Roxas told reporters.
According to Roxas, he respects Osmeña but “maybe he has his facts wrong.”
“This is a bidding that was undertaken by a national government agency. So those national government agencies will hold the money… and send them to the national government treasury,” Roxas added.
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