MANILA – A Malacanang official on Thursday expressed support on the criminal charges filed by the Department of Finance (DOF) against Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) chairman Prospero Pichay Jr. and other ranking officials of the agency.

Presidential Development and Strategic Planning Secretary Ramon Carandang said the Palace legal counsels have begun the process of administrative action against the ally of former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“Yes, the palace supports this (filing of charges),” Carandang said.

He, however, denied the charges are personal move against Pichay because of his close association with the past administration.

He assured the DOF acted based on merit of the case.

“The facts of the case speak for themselves,” he said.

Pichay and other officials of LWUA were slapped with criminal charges for alleged “highly irregular” and “anomalous” acquisition of a controlling stake in a thrift bank in Cabuyao, Laguna in 2008.

They are also facing a separate administrative case for “grave misconduct” and violation of the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2009 for making the transaction without approval from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

Pichay was appointed LWUA chairman in 2008 by Arroyo. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)