Abad denies any dealings with Napoles

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

BUDGET Secretary Florencio Abad on Tuesday denied any dealings with Janet Napoles, the alleged brains in the pork barrel scam.

The Budget chief issued the statement after his name was allegedly included in the list of former and current government officials whom Napoles transacted with in connection with the supposed diversion of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to her fake non-government organizations (NGOs).

"I have never dealt with Janet Lim Napoles or any of her fake NGOs in any way throughout my career in public service: either as representative of Batanes, as Budget and Management Secretary, or as an official of any other public office that has been entrusted to me," Abad said.

He said that he spent his professional life—inside government and in civil society—working to improve the lives of ordinary Filipinos by pushing for reforms in public governance.

The official pointed out that all projects he sponsored under PDAF when he was a legislator were above board and none were coursed through any fake NGO.

"Unlike other personalities dragged into the PDAF Scam of 2007-2009, who have been implicated by evidence and testimony by whistleblowers, nothing credible has been brought against me – but rather, unfounded allegations and malicious name-calling," Abad said.

“I find it amusing, if not outright revolting, that I am once again in the crosshairs of those who want the Aquino Administration to fall. Matagal ko nang tanggap na idadawit ako kung saan-saan gawa ng aming trabaho sa DBM bilang tagapangalaga ng kaban ng bayan at tagasulong ng reporma sa pamahalaan—lalo na’t pinaiigting ngayon ng Administrasyong Aquino ang Daang Matuwid," he added.

As the 2016 elections draw nearer, he expressed belief that more absurd allegations will come out.

"Tiwala akong masasala ng publiko ang mga kuwentong imbento lang, at maninindigan sila para sa katotohanan," he said.

"Until the public sees the true affidavit of Janet Lim Napoles, and until hard evidence supports the statements in this affidavit, everything is speculation, if not total fabrication, at this point."

Abad asked the public not to immediately believe these allegations, but to weigh the only thing that matters in the end, the evidence.

"I urge the Department of Justice and the Ombudsman to continue their investigation, follow the evidence wherever it may lead them, and take appropriate action on behalf of the people," he added.

Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. also denied involvement in the scam.

"Wala naman akong contact. That I’m very, very, very confident about dahil 'yun ang katotohanan," he said in a chance interview.

Asked about how he feel about the growing list of senators implicated in the anomaly, Senate President Franklin Drilon said the institution will remain strong despite the adverse reports.

“Maingatan sana ang mga reputasyon ng mga kasamahan natin na on the line, and give them opportunity to defend themselves. But I assure you as the Senate President, we will follow the rule of law,” he said.

Meanwhile, despite the allegations against Abad, he continues to enjoy the trust and confidence of President Benigno Aquino III, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a text message.

"A mere allegation concerning actions taken in previous position does not affect the presumption of regularity in connection with the performance of current duties," he said.

He reiterated that the Aquino administration will pursue cases against individuals based on evidence. (SDR/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)

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