THE hypocrisy of the “Daang Matuwid” will be out in the open once pork barrel queen Janet Lim Napoles turns into a state witness, Solicitor-General Jose Calida said Saturday as he slammed Liberal Party president Senator Francis Pangilinan who questioned plans to make Napoles confess her involvement in the massive looting of government funds in the multi-billion-peso pork barrel scam.
“Daang Matuwid,” the infamous battle cry of yellow forces, is the catch-all phrase of the previous administration’s “good governance, anti-corruption, and transparency platform.”
“Are you afraid Napoles will unmask the supercilious hypocrisy of the unlamented ‘Daang Matuwid’ regime?” Calida asked Pangilinan in a series of tweets.
Calida told Pangilinan that only the prosecution and the courts are involved in the process of turning an accused into a state witness.
“Why do you keep on sticking your nose in this judicial process?”
On Thursday, Calida questioned Pangilinan and Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros, a member of the Senate minority bloc, for expressing their opposition to Napoles’ acquittal in her illegal detention case before the CA.
“Why are you so agitated on Napoles’ acquittal in the illegal detention case?”
He likewise taunted the two senators, asking them if they are “hiding skeletons” in the closet.
“I can hear your teeth gnashing and knees knocking in fear of Napoles spilling the beans,” Calida said.
He asked: “Are you hiding skeletons in the closet?”
Pangilinan had earlier questioned the administration’s plan considering Napoles as a state witness, saying that she will say anything “just to save her skin.”
“Paano nangyari na yung pinakamalaki ang nakulimbat sa pork barrel na mas malaki pa sa bawat politico—dahil sa lahat nung congressman at senador na kanyang kasabwat ay may hati siya —ay gagawing state witness?” said Pangilinan in a statement.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said that he believes Napoles to be a “minimal player” in the pork barrel scam, after she expressed readiness to reveal more names “higher” than lawmakers that allegedly benefited from siphoning off the Priority Development Assistance Fund allocations through ghost projects carried out by the businesswoman’s fake non-government organizations.
Former President Benigno Aquino III, meanwhile, has insisted that there was no sufficient ground to charge him for implementing the Disbursement Acceleration Program during his administration.
In his comment to the complainants’ motion for reconsideration submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman, Aquino argued that his actions were “performed in accordance with law, as well as the rules and regulations existing and presumed valid at that time.”He added that he was “motivated solely on good faith and a desire to improve the operational efficiency of the government, as well as spur economic growth and development in the country.”
In his comment, Aquino also urged the Ombudsman to uphold its finding of no probable cause in his case and dismiss the complainant’s motion for reconsideration for lack of merit.
In March, the Office of the Ombudsman dismissed the criminal and administrative charges against Aquino in the DAP case, prompting Zarate to ask the court to reconsider its decision.
The ex-president appealed to the Ombudsman to reaffirm its decision that there was no probable cause to indict him for graft, and that Zarate’s plea must be dismissed for lack of merit.
He said Zarate’s contention was anchored on “mere rehash” of the accusations against him.
When Aquino stepped down from the presidency in July 2016, Zarate, in a 26-page complaint, filed malversation, usurpation of powers and graft charges against Aquino and ex-budget secretary Florencio Abad for the controversial DAP, which in 2014 the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional.
“This is nothing more than a big pork barrel of the President, which we remember was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court,” Bayan said.
But the Ombudsman dismissed the charges against Aquino in March, and only Abad was indicted for usurpation of powers.
Aquino said Zarate “made no further assertions which would prompt the Honorable Office to reconsider its Decision,” adding he could not even be charged with usurpation of legislative power.
In his defense, he asserted he just “performed his core executive functions when he utilized what was considered and reported to him as savings and thereafter used savings to augment deficient items in the budget.”
“The ‘act of withdrawal of funds as savings’ cannot be said to encroach upon the legislative powers of government because it is an executive function,” he cited.
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