MANILA (UPDATED) - The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) filed Wednesday a plunder complaint against President Benigno Aquino III, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala as an “acid test” to the Office of the Ombudsman.
KMP Secretary General Antonio Flores said the case is anchored on the P10 billion pork barrel scam involving lawmakers who funneled their priority development assistance funds to fake NGOs.
"The Ombudsman has the power to investigate even a sitting President and the Filipino people have every right to know his participation in the pork barrel scam. Aquino cannot hide under the mantle of presidential immunity," Flores said.
In including Aquino as respondent, Flores cited the Doctrine of Qualified Political Agency. He said the acts committed by the Cabinet are deemed acts of the President.
"Moreover, since there was no reprobation or disapproval coming from President Aquino regarding their actions, it can be easily inferred that the President acquiesced to such acts. And under the Constitution, this Office has the power to investigate or conduct an independent investigation even of a sitting President to determine his complicity on the offenses charged for purpose later on of filing an impeachment case against him,” KMP said in its complaint.
The others charged are: Agriculture Undersecretary Antonio Fleta, Alcala's head executive assistant Arnulfo Mañalac, Salvador Salacup, Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos, alleged 'pork scam queen’ Janet Lim-Napoles and his brother John Lim, whistleblower Merlina Suñas, and several John and Jane Does.
KMP blasted the continuing corruption inside the Department of Agriculture. The DA’s agencies have been tagged in the pork scam.
"His [Alcala] complicity to the commission of these offenses is also established by his appointment to various sensitive positions in the Department of Agriculture of the operators of the scam, which made possible the commission of the offenses undetected. He also acquiescence and approved various Memorandum of Agreements (MOA) to several local government units and allowed the proliferation of non-government organization (NGOs) through which public funds are squandered," the plunder complaint said.
"Alcala and his gang's schematic plunder of agricultural funds and their pig-headed refusal to resign are the biggest roadblocks to food security and self-sufficiency," Flores said.
Palace calls raps a 'publicity stunt'
Malacañang shrugged off the plunder complaint and called it a "publicity stunt."
"Of all the people that have been charged, there have been no accusations against the President," Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang said in a statement Wednesday.
"Siya pa 'yung macha-charge ng plunder. Sa lahat ng lumalabas ng documents, there has never been an accusation against the President and yet they choose to file a plunder charge against him," he added.
"So it's clearly not based anything but a desire for publicity," Carandang said. - with a report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News