Aquino rejects Abad’s resignation

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Friday, July 11, 2014

MANILA (3rd Update) -- President Benigno Aquino III said Friday that Budget Secretary Florencio Abad submitted his resignation on Thursday but he rejected it.

The resignation stemmed from the Supreme Court (SC) ruling that declared parts of Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) as unconstitutional.

"Yesterday (Thursday) Secretary Abad gave me a letter tendering his resignation from the Cabinet and I have considered the same and I have decided not to accept his resignation and let me explain why," the Chief Executive said in a short message during the 2015 budget presentation at the Aguinaldo State Dining Room in Malacañang.

"To accept his resignation is to assign to him a wrong and I cannot accept the notion that doing right by our people is a wrong. Therefore, I have decided not to accept his resignation and I think the whole Cabinet should be made aware of this," he added.

Aquino said even the administration's "most vociferous critics" admitted that DAP has benefited the public as the spending program was aimed at lifting the economy and hastening delivery of public services.

Vice President Jejomar Binay respected Aquino's decision to keep Abad.

"The President has made a decision and I respect his decision. The decision to accept or reject the resignation is the prerogative of the President," he said in a statement.

Militant labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) likened Aquino's action to a badly written drama script.

"This drama shows that the Aquino government is not interested in pursuing accountability over the DAP. This drama further shows that 'daang matuwid' is a scam perpetuated on Filipinos," KMU said.

If Aquino will not hold Abad accountable for the DAP, the group surmised it is even more impossible for the President to allow himself to face consequences for the inappropriate use of state funds.

"Coming under fire for the DAP, Abad could have tendered an irrevocable resignation but did not. Thinking that Aquino remains popular, the ruling clique chose to use the president to try to deodorize Abad’s name in light of the SC decision on the DAP," it said.

Abad is said to be the architect of DAP, prompting some quarters to call for his resignation.

Militant students allied with Kabataan party-list also filed last Tuesday a plunder case against him before the Office of the Ombudsman because he allegedly misappropriated, converted, misused, and malversed public funds through DAP.

In the Senate, legislators are divided over the resignation of Abad.

Senator JV Ejercito scored Abad's resignation as he merely described the move as "nagpapapigil lang," saying it was only ceremonial and not irrevocable.

Ejercito also denounced the Aquino administration's logic of good faith in creating the illegal DAP fund.

"Whatever happened to Daang Matuwid? Is a violation of the highest law of the land acceptable now as long as it was done in good faith? Pwede na palang gumawa ng mali basta't ito ay makakatulong sa bayan?" the senator said.

The senator challenged Abad that instead of employing political maneuvers, he should release to the public the full list of DAP recipients and its sources.

Another opposition Senator Nancy Binay said the chief executive's continuous refusal to accept the resignation of Abad only show that Aquino does not want to let go of bad eggs in his administration.

Senator Grace Poe said she does not see anything wrong when Aquino rejected the resignation of Abad, saying that it was the President's "exclusive prerogative."

Poe said as long as Abad will be willing to explain to the public the truth about DAP with the Commission on Audit showing where it went, it is just fine with her.

Poe said it is important that transparency remains paramount with regard to the money of the people, and that corresponding explanations are forthcoming. (Virgil Lopez/SDR/Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)

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