MANILA - Malacañang has reacted to the plunder case filed by the Kabataan Party-list group and several youth groups against Budget Secretary Butch Abad, a long-time ally of President Benigno Aquino III.
In a text message, Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma said they respect the rights of individuals and groups to file complaints against public officials.
"We acknowlege the rights of indivicduals or groups to seek redress. Public officials continually come to terms and live with the challenge that their actions may become subjects of lawsuits," Coloma said.
In their complaint filed before the Office of the Ombudsman, the groups said Abad "systematically misappropriated, converted, misused, and malversed public funds" through the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
The complainants also noted that Abad was also implicated in the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam, with alleged mastermind Janet Lim Napoles even tagging him as her mentor.
"There have also been reports that Napoles was likewise a recipient of DAP funds, through projects undertaken by her NGOs which were funded by realigned and augmented disbursements under the DAP," they added.
Malacañang has consistently defended Abad, insisting that the DAP was intended to spur the economy. -- Report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News