Palace: No tolerance for wrongdoing of Aquino allies

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Thursday, April 28, 2011


MALACANANG assured Wednesday that it will not tolerate wrongdoing if ever several allies of President Benigno Aquino III will be proven guilty of benefitting from the allegedly misused fertilizer funds.

"It is not the policy of the Aquino administration to do that. We won't tolerate [that]," deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said.

She refused to make further comments on the alleged involvement of Aquino's allies in the fertilizer fund scam, saying it would be better to leave the issue to the Ombudsman.

"The Ombudsman should explain their reason for the filing of the cases against these people," she said.

The Office of the Ombudsman identified former Bukidnon Representative Nereus Acosta Jr., Albay Provincial Governor Jose "Joey" Salceda and Palawan Governor Abraham Kahlil Mitra as three officials who supposedly obtained funding from the government's Farm Inputs/Farm Implements Program (FIFIF).

Acosta, who ran under Aquino's Liberal Party last May 2010 elections, allegedly got a share from the FIFIF although he is included in the list submitted by the budget department for issuance of Special Allotment Release Order.

Salceda, who is the former congressman of Albay's third district, likewise supposedly received P5 million from the FIFIF while Mitra, who formerly served as representative of Palawan's second district, allegedly got P3 million.

They allegedly received funds from the FIFIF, which was diverted for the campaign kitty of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo when she ran for president in May 2004.

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., who is an ally of Aquino, earlier said he does not see the implication of the President's allies as "retaliatory" but he questioned why it took a long time for the Ombudsman to resolve the mess.

Also identified in the Ombudsman's 134-page joint resolution were incumbent lawmakers, including Erico Aumentado (Bohol, second district), Representatives Antonio Kho (Masbate, second district), Al Francis Bichara (Albay, second district), Luis Villafuerte (Camarines Sur, third district), Orlando Fua (Siquijor, lone district), George Arnaiz (Negros Oriental, second district), Florencio Miraflores (Aklan, lone district), Augusto Syjuco (Iloilo, second district), Rogelio Espina (Biliran, lone district), Eleandro Jesus Madrona (Romblon, lone district), Representative Renato Unico Jr. (Camarines Norte, first district), and Representative Napoleon Dy (Isabela, third district). (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)

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