MANILA - Malacañang on Thursday released photographs of President Aquino with Janet Napoles, her husband Jimmy and daughter Jeane, along with several others taken in a function in Cebu in November 2012.
It also included a group photo of Aquino with Napoles and fashion designer Renee Salud.
In releasing the batch of 24 photos, the Palace wanted to show that President Aquino only obliged to photo requests of several people even without knowing them personally.
The Palace reiterated that Aquino did not know Napoles personally.
"He doesn't know them personally. He still didn't know them personally," said Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) Secretary Ricky Carandang.
"I've shown some of those photos and it's really just a question of her going and asking for the picture. He didn't even know who she was," he added.
The Palace released the photos after a picture of Aquino with Jeane Napoles surfaced on social media.
Following this, however, the Palace will not set restrictions on people who wish to pose for pictures with the President, saying politicians normally oblige to photo requests.
"Mahirap gawin 'yon. Kung magpunta ka sa isang event--at alam niyo naman, nakasama na rin kayo sa ilang mga event ni Presidente--marami talagang nagpapa-picture sa kanya and let's not just limit it to the President. You're a senator, you're a congressman, when you go to a public event, talagang nagpapa-picture ang tao sa inyo," Carandang said.
"And, I know this from experience ha, 'pag hindi ka pumayag magpa-picture, minsan magagalit pa sila. I think it's the right of our people, if they want to get pictures taken."
Carandang stressed that a photograph with Napoles doesn't necessarily mean guilt.
"The public understands that a picture with someone does not mean that they are guilty. Now, if there are funds that were allegedly misspent, ibang issue po 'yon," Carandang said.
"Pero I think the public will understand, regardless of who it is, na kung... may nagpa-picture sa'yo, na hindi mo naman kilala, hindi mo naman masisisi 'yung isang pulitiko na nagpa-picture siya."