House Speaker downplays plunder suit vs Aquino-A A +A
Thursday, October 3, 2013
MANILA -- House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., a close ally of President Benigno Aquino III, downplayed Thursday the plunder complaint filed against Aquino and other incumbent government officials over the controversial pork barrel scam.
“It is a mere propaganda. How can you sue a President for something that he is not part of the allegations? The controversy happened during the previous administration,” Belmonte said.
The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) on Wednesday filed a plunder complaint against Aquino, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, and other government officials.
Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind in the multi-billion misuse of priority development assistance funds (PDAF), was also included in the complaint. Napoles, who was also earlier accused by the Department of Justice (DOJ) of plunder, is presently detained at Fort Santo Domingo in Laguna over illegal detention charges.
Eastern Samar Representative Ben Evardone described the complaint as a mere "propaganda."
“The plunder charges filed against PNoy and other top government officials are nothing but a propaganda ploy designed to weaken the administration. I don't think it can stand on legal grounds. It is just part of the grand campaign to make it appear that the Aquino administration is corrupt,” Evardone told reporters.
Cavite Representative Elpidio Barzaga Jr., a lawyer by profession, noted that a sitting President is immune from suit.
“It will not prosper. No sufficient and factual basis. The President cannot be sued during his term of office. Complainants are just making a mockery of our legal processes. I would say that that filing of plunder complaint is a very cheap publicity stunt which shall not be helpful to our country,” Barzaga explained.
In filing the plunder complaint, KMP secretary general Antonio Flores said President Aquino "cannot hide under the mantle of presidential immunity." (Sunnex)