Palace: No systematic plan vs opposition

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Monday, June 23, 2014


THE Aquino administration has no systematic plan of going after individuals from the opposition as alleged by former president and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada following the arrest of his son, Senator Jinggoy Estrada, Malacanang said Monday.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said that the government is just focused on bringing to court those who allegedly misused public funds.

"No, we can also assure Mayor Estrada that the perception that we have is entirely inaccurate. There is no systematic plan. What we have, however, is a plan to bring to court those who have been found to have misused their PDAF (priority development assistance fund) scam; and that would involve and affect anyone who has -- who have misused their funds whether you are friend or foe," he said in a press briefing.

He cited as an example the case filed against "an ally of the President", former Customs chief Ruffy Biazon, over the alleged misuse of his PDAF back when he was still a congressman.

"So, it is not true that we are only focusing on people who are against this administration. That is clearly not true," he said.

The Sandiganbayan issued Monday warrant of arrest against Senator Estrada, who surrendered to authorities. He was the second senator, next to Senator Ramon Revilla Jr., who was arrested for allegedly pocketing multi-million pesos from his PDAF.

Estrada is charged by the Sandiganbayan with one count of plunder and 11 counts of graft.

Lacierda acknowledged Estrada's surrender to authorities.

"Upon being notified of the issuance of a warrant of arrest against him, in connection with charges of plunder and graft, Senator Estrada surrendered to the Sandiganbayan today," he said.

"The issuance of this warrant is a step forward in finding out the truth, which is fundamental in strengthening the trust of our people in our institutions and processes," he said.

"As the Sandiganbayan works to fulfill its mandate, we ask the Filipino people to remain vigilant throughout this process, bearing in mind that the outcome should clearly reflect the profound reality—that just as every Filipino is accorded constitutional rights, these rights are to be protected in a manner that is just and in the service of the truth," the Palace official said.

On reports that former Chief of Staff of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, Jessica "Gigi" Reyes, will turn herself in, Lacierda said, "Any action by the respondents that will make the process expedited in terms of their voluntary surrender will certainly be welcomed because it expedites the whole process of securing their person."

Reyes was the alleged bagman of Enrile, who has also been accused in the scam allegedly masterminded by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles. (SDR/Sunnex)

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