Palace: Tatad’s story on Napoles’ 6-hour stay in Malacanang fiction-A A +A
Monday, September 16, 2013
MALACANANG denied Monday the allegation of former Senator Francisco Tatad that President Benigno Aquino III spent several hours in "closed-door conversations" with Janet Lim-Napoles on the day when she supposedly surrendered to him.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said that Tatad's claim was "pure fiction."
Tatad, quoting highly authoritative sources, said that Napoles, the alleged mastermind in the multimillion peso pork barrel scam, claimed that prior to her "surrender" on the night of August 28, she was kept in the "Music Room" or "Ready Room" in Malacanang along with the President, Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II and Lacierda for the next six hours.
Napoles also even had lunch in Malacanang, claimed Tatad, the Public Information Minister of late President Ferdinand Marcos.
He said that Napoles arrived at the Palace without her lawyer, Lorna Kapunan, and she was instead accompanied by Lacierda.
Aside from Roxas, the spokesperson and Aquino, Tatad said that other Cabinet members, such as Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, and Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, also joined in the meeting.
"This administration believes in truthful and transparent reportage, which the former Marcos-appointee may not be accustomed to," Lacierda said in a statement.
He also recalled Aquino's official working schedule on August 28.
He said that at 10:30 a.m. on that date, the President attended the 8th East Asia Conference on Competition Law and Policy at Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila; 1:30 p.m., the 27th Apolinario Mabini Awarding Ceremony at Heroes Hall in Malacanang; 3 p.m., meeting with Ochoa, Abad, and Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima at Malacanang Study Conference Room; and 4 p.m., meeting with Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, and others in the same venue.
"The storyline pushed by Tatad is an obvious fabrication. The President was at two high-profile events at 10:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. with hundreds of attendees. At both events the President also delivered speeches," Lacierda said.
He also said that Abad denied having gone to the Palace at all on that day.
He said that the Budget chief claimed he was in his office from 12:15 p.m. until he left at 3 p.m. to attend a meeting in Quezon City, and from 6 p.m. - 7 p.m. at the Department of Interior and Local Government headquarters to meet with some organizers and attendees of the One Million People March.
"This grandiose conspiracy theory peddled by Tatad is symptomatic of the old order that has been swept away. He represents what is wrong with our politics, and over the last decade, the Filipino people have made that abundantly clear by denying his return to public office twice," Lacierda stressed. (SDR/Sunnex)