Palace: Abad being singled out due to perceived closeness to Aquino

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Monday, June 2, 2014

BUDGET Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad was allegedly being singled out by his detractors because of his "perceived closeness" to President Benigno Aquino III, a Palace official said Monday.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said that Abad was apparently becoming the punching bag because critics could not hit the President.

"You know, he (Abad) is being singled out maybe because of the perceived—the closeness to the President. Obviously, nobody wants to hit the President because the President's honesty, incorruptibility, reformist image is — can never be questioned. So they try to hit the people around him," he said in a regular media briefing.

But he added that it was unfair for Abad who has been doing his job well.

"I hope that the people who see everyday attacks against people who work hard for the country will not be persuaded by all these demolition attacks against honest people in government," Lacierda said.

Janet Lim-Napoles, alleged brains in the pork barrel scam, has dragged Abad into the controversy. She accused the budget chief of teaching him how to put up non-government organizations to be the beneficiaries of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) when he was still the Batanes congressman. Abad, however, denied the allegation.

Asked on who could be behind to bring down Abad, Lacierda said he did not want to speculate.

"Looking for who the source is would not help us conduct our business of governance. We will do what we are required to do as Cabinet secretaries," he said.

He added that under the law, those who make allegations should come up with evidence to back up the claim.

The Palace official also reiterated that Abad was committed to President's reforms and policies.

"Klaro ho ‘yan e. And for people, friendship is material, but friendship is immaterial because of the vast policy and governance experience of Butch Abad. So—and he has served in past Cabinets and with distinction," he added. (SDR/Sunnex)

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