Romualdez: Abad, Alcala should resign
Published : Tuesday, June 17, 2014 00:00
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HOUSE independent minority bloc leader and Leyte (1st District) Rep. Ferdinand Martin “FM” G. Romualdez yesterday said only the resignation or leave of absence of Budget Sec. Florencio “Butch” Abad and Agriculture Sec. Proceso Alcala will ease President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III the burden of continuously defending them from the pork barrel scam.
Romualdez, a lawyer, stressed this following reports that the Supreme Court (SC) will declare the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) unconstitutional, favoring the nine petitions against it.
“President Aquino is now having the baggage of defending them. They can spare the President from the burden, just take off the heat and give him a break,” Romualdez stressed.
“But at the end of the day, it is up for them (Abad and Alcala) to submit courtesy resignation or take a leave of absence. These are very worthwhile options they can take to keep their offices beyond reproach,” Romualdez explained.
“I pity the President for constantly defending his men (Secretaries Abad and Alcala) on the pork barrel scam which I find very unusual because normally, they should be the ones taking cover for the President,” he said.
Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte Jr. said Abad and Alcala should
defend themselves and spare the President from the controversy.
“Definitely they should defend themselves and not rely on him. They presumably know the facts as well as their best defense,” Belmonte said.
Romualdez also appealed to the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Office of the Ombudsman to “fast-track the resolution of pending complaints against allies of the Aquino administration who have been implicated in the pork barrel scandal, no pussyfooting.”
“Otherwise, selective prosecution will persist because only opposition lawmakers are being charged right now,” he said.
Romualdez underscored the need for the SC to rule on DAP for the sake of transparency and accountability, adding it should be made as soon as possible.
“Even if the DAP has been discontinued, the issue remains because there were dispositions of public funds and so the justices decided to hear the case. Hopefully, they will come up with resolution so that it will not be swept under the rug. This issue must be dealt with and accountability if any should be made,” Romualdez pointed out.
The nine petitions were filed by former Iloilo Rep. Augusto Syjuco Jr., the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage), lawyers Jose Malvar Villegas Jr. and Manuelito Luna; Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa); Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP); Bayan Muna,
Kabataan and Gabriela party-list groups; and Christian sects led by Greco Belgica.
In almost all the petitions, the respondents are President Aquino, Senate President Franklin M. Drilon, Belmonte, Executive Sec. Paquito N. Ochoa Jr., Abad, Finance Sec. Cesar V. Purisima, and National Treasurer Rosalia V. de Leon.Ryan Ponce Pacpaco