Palace virtually clears Budget chief from plunder rap

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

MALACANANG indicated Wednesday that plunder complaint against Budget Secretary Florencio Abad may not prosper since he did not gain personally from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which was partly declared as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

In a regular press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said that Abad did not steal money under DAP mechanism.

"Winaldas ba ang pera ni Secretary Butch Abad? Hindi. Ninakaw ba ang pera? Hindi. Very, very clear, categorical answers that neither acts happened. Did he personally gain from it? Hindi rin," he said.

"I think plunder requires personal gain. Whenever you're confronted with a criminal action, or specifically a criminal case, as a law practitioner and also as an accused, for instance, or respondent in the case, you look at the elements of the crime. Do the acts fit to all the elements of the crime? And if it does not, then there is no case."

"Secretary Abad did not in any manner, shape, or form gain from any of these programs-funds from these programs," Lacierda added.

A youth party-list group filed plunder complaint against Abad following the decision of the high court declaring certain provisions of DAP as unconstitutional.

Abad was allegedly the architect of DAP.

Lacierda also could not say when Abad would come out in public and answered the issues pertaining to DAP.

He said that currently, the Budget chief was busy in preparing the 2015 budget, which will be submitted to Congress when session resumes on July 28.

"Right now kasi, may we beg your indulgence, he is in the midst of budget preparation. So he has been meeting with several Cabinet agencies and he has been working quite late to make sure that we are able to submit and present to the President the budget—the NEP (National Expenditures Program) medyo he is quite busy at this point," Lacierda explained. (SDR/Sunnex)

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