Palace: PNoy still trusts Abad
MANILA - Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco, the secretary general of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), is calling for the filing of plunder charges against Budget Secretary Butch Abad.
Speaking to ANC, Tiangco said the government has gone easy on allies who have also been linked to the pork barrel scam as well as the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
"Kung seryoso talaga sila, ipakita nilang hindi pulitika itong pag-file dun sa tatlo," he said, pertaining to Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr., and Juan Ponce Enrile.
The three senators are facing plunder and graft charges over the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam. Estrada and Revilla are detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center in Camp Crame.
Three Cabinet members -- Abad, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) chief Joel Villanueva -- have also been linked to the anomaly, but no charges have been filed against them so far.
"Tingnan natin kung may Liberal Party na mafa-file-an ng plunder. Lalong-lalo na lumabas yung DAP ruling. Dapat yung author ng DAP, yun ang ma-file-an ng plunder -- Sec. Abad. There's no other author of the DAP unless he will point to someone else," Tiangco said.
The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday voted unanimously to declare specific acts and practices under the DAP as unconstitutional.
Tiangco said Aquino has to stop saving Abad's neck and show the public that even his closest allies are not above the law.
"Abad must be fired to save the President from further embarrassment. For the longest time, Sec. Abad has been using the President as his armor to save his neck in both the PDAF and DAP controversies. With DAP being declared unconstitutional, it only unravels Abad's recklessness and deception. And being the brains behind DAP, he has to be accountable for his illegal and criminal engagements," Tiangco said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Malacañang said Abad continues to enjoy the trust and confidence of the President even amid mounting calls for him to resign over the controversy.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the entire decision of the high court must be studied first before any decision on Abad is rendered.
Lacierda also refused to comment on the SC's ruling.
"We're confronted with only being able to listen...to the dispositive portion of the decision. There has to be an explanation on the basis of those decisions."
"It's like asking us to comment on the full movie when we're able to watch only the last 10 seconds of the film," he said.
The DAP first hit the headlines after Estrada alleged that it was used by Malacañang to bribe senators during the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona.
The Palace and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) denied the allegation.
They said the DAP, which realigned savings generated from unimplemented government projects to other expenses, was used to boost government spending and the economy.