PALACE SAYS, ABADS ARE NOY'S FRIENDS SO THEY CAN DO NO WRONG

JUNE 4, TRIBUNE: Since Budget Secretary Florencio Abad has been a long-time associate of President Aquino, he can’t possibly do anything wrong and the same goes for the 11 of his other relatives who hold sensitive posts in government, the Palace said yesterday. The Palace continued yesterday its defense of Abad, who was named in the signed deposition of pork barrel scam brains Janet Lim Napoles as her mentor in putting up the syndicate in siphoning off legislators’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Budget Secretary Butch Abad is “a good friend and a long-time friend of the President” and that he is being singled out because there was nothing that the administration’s critics can dish out against Aquino for being “honest.” “You know, he is being singled out maybe because of the perceived—the closeness to the President. Nobody wants to hit the President right now. Obviously, nobody wants to hit the President because the President’s honesty, incorruptibility, reformist image can never be questioned. So they try to hit the people around him,” Lacierda said. Lacierda said “that the people who see everyday attacks against people who work hard for the country will not be persuaded by all these demolition attacks against honest people in government”. He added that all the reforms in the government would not have been possible without the political and intellectual muscle of President Aquino. READ MORE!!!

ALSO: PNoy confirms receiving Napoles letter but turns tables on Jinggoy

JUNE 5  --President Benigno Aquino III confirmed on Thursday that he received a letter from alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles in 2013. At a televised media interview, Aquino showed the letter dated April 17, 2013, in which the businesswoman denied that she had engaged in illegal activities. "Basically, sinasabi niya inosente siya, matinong negosyante sila for the past 29 years. Inaapi sila ng NBI. 'Yun ang gist nito," Aquino told reporters at the sidelines of the Asia Europe Meeting Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management. Aquino read a paragraph on the letter: "We (Napoles) are decent law-abiding citizens all our lives. We are not kidnappers. We are not criminals. My family and I are legitimate businessmen. We have been engaged in the business for the past 29 years and the main reason for our success is because of the trust and integrity attached to our good name." The President said he gave the letter to the agency tasked to investigate the matter. Senator Jinggoy Estrada raised Napoles' letter during the confirmation hearing of Justice Secrtary Leila De Lima on Wednesday. But Aquino turned the tables on Estrada, reading a portion of the letter mentioning an official linked to the senator's family. "Baka dapat tanungin natin si Senator Jinggoy," Aquino said. "Kasi ang nakalagay dito... 'Thereafter, Atty. Levito Baligod, lawyer of the Luy family, together with the retired General Rodolfo Diaz demanded the amount of 38-million pesos from through our lawyer, Atty. Freddie Villamor, in exchange for the dropping of said false charges and bad media publicity'." READ MORE...9RELATED NEWS ALSO IN hEADLINE SECTION...

ALSO: 11 Abads in govt not nepotism—Palace

JUNE 4 --MANILA STANDARD: THERE is nothing wrong with having 11 Abads in government and that does not necessarily translate to nepotism, Malacañang said on Monday in response to charges that the family of Budget Secretary Florencio Abad has been given “unrestrained power and control” over the government “Their surnames should not be a basis for saying they have too much power. I think their performance in government should be a gauge as to whether they are an asset to the country and to the government,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said. United Nationalist Alliance secretary general and Navotas Rep. Tobias Tiangco said there are 11 Abads in government -- including Abad’s wife, Henedina (representative of Batanes and vice chairman of the powerful House approriations committee); daughter Julia (Presidential Management Staff head), son Luis (chief of staff of Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima); four nephews; one niece; and two first cousins. But in his 2013 Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth, Abad only declared nine relatives in government service. His son, Luis, was no longer listed. “The issue here is are they contributing to the good of the country? Have they been accused of any wrongdoing?” Lacierda said. “I think it’s not to say that just because you are an Abad (it means it is nepotism), considering that they are in various levels of the bureaucracy. Not all of them are Cabinet secretaries—only two of them are Cabinet secretaries,” he added. Aside from Abad, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje also has nine declared relatives in government—two sisters; two brothers-in-law; a sister-in-law; two nieces; and two nephews. Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla has seven declared relatives, while Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. declared five relatives. Lacierda also denied accusations that Abad could not be fired by the President because he is the “brain master” of the administration. READ MORE!!!

(ALSO) Aquino: Abad innocent until proven guilty

JUNE 5 --President Aquino turned to the Bible to defend Budget Secretary Florencio Abad from critics seeking his resignation for alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam. “It’s in the Bible: Judge not lest you be judged,” the President said in a media interview after delivering his remarks at a regional assembly on disaster management in Manila. Novaliches Bishop Teodoro Bacani earlier called on Abad to resign or take a leave after he was tagged as one of the politicians who benefited from the pork barrel scam. Abad also allegedly taught Napoles on how to divert the profit from the alleged diversion of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to bogus non government organizations. Abad has denied the allegations. Despite mounting criticisms against his budget secretary, the President is not about to let go of Abad. He insisted that the budget secretary remains innocent until proven guilty. “Kapag bukas binanggit ako ni Napoles dapat ba sibakin na rin ako? Ang hirap naman yata ‘non [When I am dragged by Napoles tomorrow, should I also be sacked? I think that’s difficult],” he said. He said Napoles has accused several persons for alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam but has yet to present concrete evidence. READ MORE...

ALSO: Butch Abad

JUNE 4 --By Standard Columnist Atty. Harry Roque Jr-- I do not know if Butch Abad has become corrupt. But I did know him to be an upright and honorable man. I’ve known Butch for about 30 years now. As an original member of the Liberal Party, I had the pleasure of meeting him as the party’s official candidate for Congressman in the lone district of Batanes. If I’m not mistaken, I first met him in the residence of my grand uncle, Former Senate President Jovito Salonga. My Ka Jovy introduced him as a stalwart of the party. Apparently, his father before him was also a big man within the party. I also knew him when as a law student; I worked as a legislative staff officer for another LP member of Congress. During the 8th Congress and when he was a loyal lieutenant to Ka Jovy, he had a reputation for integrity and probity. I remember Butch lost his Committee Chairmanship when he refused to join the LDP bandwagon. That made me respect him even more. I would then have close encounters with him and his wife Dinah when during the Presidential Elections of 1992, Butch ran for the Senate. I was then in the very lonely and cash-strapped campaign of Ka Jovy for President. There were many nights when, had it not been for the kindness of Butch and his wife; I would have spent many nights literally in the sidewalks of the country. Butch and his wife personally paid for many nights of my lodging all over the country. But it was not just his generosity in times of need that made me respect Butch. He was a man of principles, a firm believer in justice, and yes, of unimpeachable integrity. I am one of those utterly shocked that his name would now be dragged into this latest pork barrel scandal with his name surfacing prominently in the affidavit of Janet Lim Napoles, Benhur Luy’s fies, as well as the lists of Ping Lacson, Sandra Cam and Leila De Loma. *** At this point, what Butch needs is a venue to clear his name. If his boss P Noy really cares for him, he will facilitate an impartial and credible investigation on the accusations against him. Anything short of this will have the stench of cover-up. Mr. President, please help him in this regard. READ FULL COLUMN...


READ FULL MEDIA NEWS REPORT:

Abads are Noy’s friends so they can do no wrong — Palace


Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda

MANILA, JUNE 9, 2014 (TRIBUNE) Written by Paul Atienza - Since Budget Secretary Florencio Abad has been a long-time associate of President Aquino, he can’t possibly do anything wrong and the same goes for the 11 of his other relatives who hold sensitive posts in government, the Palace said yesterday.

The Palace continued yesterday its defense of Abad, who was named in the signed deposition of pork barrel scam brains Janet Lim Napoles as her mentor in putting up the syndicate in siphoning off legislators’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Budget Secretary Butch Abad is “a good friend and a long-time friend of the President” and that he is being singled out because there was nothing that the administration’s critics can dish out against Aquino for being “honest.”

“You know, he is being singled out maybe because of the perceived—the closeness to the President.

Nobody wants to hit the President right now. Obviously, nobody wants to hit the President because the President’s honesty, incorruptibility, reformist image can never be questioned. So they try to hit the people around him,” Lacierda said.

Lacierda said “that the people who see everyday attacks against people who work hard for the country will not be persuaded by all these demolition attacks against honest people in government”.

He added that all the reforms in the government would not have been possible without the political and intellectual muscle of President Aquino.

“(Abad and Aquino) share common ideals. They share a common vision. But it is President Aquino who ensures that everyday in government should be a day that we try to uplift the burdens of our people, and to try to improve the bureaucracy, to try to improve every sector of the country,” Lacierda said.

Lacierda also justified the presence of so many Abads who are appointed by Aquino in the administration, with at least 11 members of the family holding appointive posts.

“Congresswoman (Henedina) Abad is an elected official, so there is no issue with respect to (her) having the mandate of the people of Batanes,” Lacierda said. Julia Abad holds the position of Presidential Management Staff Secretary.

“She helps the President. She deals with the President everyday, and the President needs someone whom he can trust to make sure that policies that have been laid out are carried out. To make sure that all the instructions of the President are passed on to the necessary government officials or agency,” Lacierda said.

“(Abad) has known the President since they were still working for a non-government organization. Secretary Abad has been, as I have said, (he) has introduced a lot of reforms in the budget sector. Our budgets are open and transparent,” Lacierda added.

Lacierda said the criticisms against Aquino and Abad remain baseless and all these that are coming out from Navotas Representative Toby Tiangco.

“It’s, again, one of those things that they are trying to instigate against this government. It has no basis. These three Abads are good government officials. They have not been accused of wrongdoing,” Lacierda said.

Lacierda then lashed out against Napoles on the allegations that Abad had her as a “tutor” on how to plunder the allocated pork barrel funds on Congress when Abad was still in Congress.

“The statements against Secretary Abad by Ms. Janet Napoles, specifically to a particular SARO (Special Allotment Release Order), which he allegedly showed to Ms. Napoles has been negated by the fact that there is no such SARO in the records of the Department of Budget and Management,” Lacierda said, conveniently omitting the fact that Abad heads the Budget department and can easily claim that no such SARO exists, in the same way he failed to submit the SAROs of the allies of Aquino and Aquino’s himseld for the audit .

In excluding Secretary Abad’s wife because she is elected, there are eleven Abad’s in the government which Lacierda did not accept as a case of nepotism.

“The issue here is that are they contributing to the good of the country. Have they been accused of any wrongdoing?,” Lacierda said. Lacierda had called as unfair the criticisms on the Abads.

“Their surnames should not be a basis for saying they have too much power. I think their performance in government should be a gauge as to whether they are an asset to the country and to the government,” Lacierda said.

Lacierda said Abad had no idea that he would be appointed as Budget secretary when he was still a lawmaker.

He added that Abad could have learned a lot about how the government budgeting system works from former then Budget Secretary Emilia Boncodin.

“When he became Budget Secretary, plus the fact that he has experience also with (Emilia) Boncodin. If you remember Budget Secretary Boncodin was also a reformist Budget secretary,” Lacierda said.

Lacierda said the accusation that was made by Napoles has no factual basis against Abad on the pork barrel plunder issue.

FROM PHILSTAR

PNoy confirms receiving Napoles letter but turns tables on Jinggoy By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated June 5, 2014 - 4:09pm 2 2 googleplus0 0


Janet Lim-Napoles, daughter Jeane (fourth and third from left, respectively) and their companions pose with President Aquino at the lobby of Shangri-La Mactan in Cebu on Nov. 30, 2012. Malacañang/STAR File Photo

MANILA, Philippines — President Benigno Aquino III confirmed on Thursday that he received a letter from alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles in 2013.

At a televised media interview, Aquino showed the letter dated April 17, 2013, in which the businesswoman denied that she had engaged in illegal activities.

"Basically, sinasabi niya inosente siya, matinong negosyante sila for the past 29 years. Inaapi sila ng NBI. 'Yun ang gist nito," Aquino told reporters at the sidelines of the Asia Europe Meeting Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management.

Aquino read a paragraph on the letter: "We (Napoles) are decent law-abiding citizens all our lives. We are not kidnappers. We are not criminals. My family and I are legitimate businessmen. We have been engaged in the business for the past 29 years and the main reason for our success is because of the trust and integrity attached to our good name."

The President said he gave the letter to the agency tasked to investigate the matter.

Senator Jinggoy Estrada raised Napoles' letter during the confirmation hearing of Justice Secrtary Leila De Lima on Wednesday.

But Aquino turned the tables on Estrada, reading a portion of the letter mentioning an official linked to the senator's family.

"Baka dapat tanungin natin si Senator Jinggoy," Aquino said. "Kasi ang nakalagay dito... 'Thereafter, Atty. Levito Baligod, lawyer of the Luy family, together with the retired General Rodolfo Diaz demanded the amount of 38-million pesos from through our lawyer, Atty. Freddie Villamor, in exchange for the dropping of said false charges and bad media publicity'."

"Ewan ko lang kung ito 'yung General Diaz na dating namumuno ng (Presidential Security Group) noong panahon ni President Erap (Joseph Estrada). So baka mas may alam sa atin si Senator Jinggoy, " Aquino added.

Like Napoles, Estrada is facing plunder charges before the Office of the Ombudsman for supposedly amassing kickbacks through the funneling of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to the foundations of the businesswoman.

Several allies of Aquino have been implicated in the scam, but the President insists that he never had transactions with Napoles since he did not receive pork barrel funds as an opposition lawmaker during the Arroyo administration.

"So wala siyang interes na maging close sa akin dahil wala siyang mapapala sa akin," Aquino said.

"Anong pakinabang niyang maging close sa aking kung ang habol niya ay maghanapbuhay sa PDAF?" the President added.

THE REPORT FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

11 Abads in govt not nepotism—Palace By Joyce Pangco Panares, Maricel V. Cruz | Jun. 03, 2014 at 12:01am

Says performance not names be critics’ basis


Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda

THERE is nothing wrong with having 11 Abads in government and that does not necessarily translate to nepotism, Malacañang said on Monday in response to charges that the family of Budget Secretary Florencio Abad has been given “unrestrained power and control” over the government

“Their surnames should not be a basis for saying they have too much power. I think their performance in government should be a gauge as to whether they are an asset to the country and to the government,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.


Abad

United Nationalist Alliance secretary general and Navotas Rep. Tobias Tiangco said there are 11 Abads in government -- including Abad’s wife, Henedina (representative of Batanes and vice chairman of the powerful House approriations committee); daughter Julia (Presidential Management Staff head), son Luis (chief of staff of Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima); four nephews; one niece; and two first cousins.

But in his 2013 Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth, Abad only declared nine relatives in government service. His son, Luis, was no longer listed.

“The issue here is are they contributing to the good of the country? Have they been accused of any wrongdoing?” Lacierda said.

“I think it’s not to say that just because you are an Abad (it means it is nepotism), considering that they are in various levels of the bureaucracy. Not all of them are Cabinet secretaries—only two of them are Cabinet secretaries,” he added.

Aside from Abad, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje also has nine declared relatives in government—two sisters; two brothers-in-law; a sister-in-law; two nieces; and two nephews.

Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla has seven declared relatives, while Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. declared five relatives.

Lacierda also denied accusations that Abad could not be fired by the President because he is the “brain master” of the administration.

“Secretary Butch Abad is a good friend and a long time friend of the President. They share common ideals. They share common vision. But it is President Aquino who ensures that everyday in government should be a day that we try to uplift the burdens of our people and to try to improve the bureaucracy, to try to improve every sector of the country,” he said.

“All these reforms would not have been possible without the politicaland intellectual muscle of the President,” Lacierda added.

Nepotism is covered by Section 9, Rule XIII of the 1998 Memorandum Circular No. 40 the Civil Service Commission, which provides the “Revised Omnibus Rules on Appointments and Other Personnel Actions.”

The rule states that “No appointment in the national, provincial, city or municipal governments or any branch or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned and/or -controlled corporations with original charters shall be made in favor of relative or the appointing or recommending authority, or of the chief of the bureau or office or of the person exercising immediate supervision over the appointee.”

The memorandum also provides that “unless otherwise provided by law, the word relative and the members of the family referred to are those related within the third degree either of consanguinity or of affinity.”

Tiangco on Monday laughed off Palace’s statement that having several of the Abads in government is not nepotism.

“Having 11 Abads appointed in some very sensitive positions in government by one person? I don’t see how is that not nepotism,” Tiangco told the Manila Standard. “Why, do they have a monopoly on intelligence?” he added.

Tiangco said that President Aquino and his administration should be able to prove its straight path advocacy on the premise of “moral, ethical standards and delicadeza.”

“The straight path to me means you try to go over and above the standard of what is legal and ethical. If one family controls the government by holding many sensitive positions, is that ethical? Does that show delicadeza?” Tiangco said.

Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon said Lacierda may be correct under the legal definition of nepotism.

“But it still constitutes political patronage, as surely competence and professional service are not the monopoly of selected families,” Ridon said.

Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate said that Lacierda’s statement only proved that President Aquino’s straight path policy has exceptions.

“It appears that the campaign for a straight path applies to all but the Abads, Alcalas and other sacred allies of the Aquino administration,” Zarate said.

FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Aquino: Abad innocent until proven guilty by Genalyn Kabiling
June 5, 2014


ABAD WITH AQUINO

President Aquino turned to the Bible to defend Budget Secretary Florencio Abad from critics seeking his resignation for alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam.

“It’s in the Bible: Judge not lest you be judged,” the President said in a media interview after delivering his remarks at a regional assembly on disaster management in Manila.

Novaliches Bishop Teodoro Bacani earlier called on Abad to resign or take a leave after he was tagged as one of the politicians who benefited from the pork barrel scam. Abad also allegedly taught Napoles on how to divert the profit from the alleged diversion of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to bogus non government organizations. Abad has denied the allegations.

Despite mounting criticisms against his budget secretary, the President is not about to let go of Abad. He insisted that the budget secretary remains innocent until proven guilty.

“Kapag bukas binanggit ako ni Napoles dapat ba sibakin na rin ako? Ang hirap naman yata ‘non [When I am dragged by Napoles tomorrow, should I also be sacked? I think that’s difficult],” he said.

He said Napoles has accused several persons for alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam but has yet to present concrete evidence.

“Lahat tayo under our laws may presumption of innocence at maglabas ng pruweba [Under our laws, there is a presumption of innocence. Evidence should also be presented],” he added.

In the case of Abad, Aquino said the allegations that he downloaded P10 million of his Priority Development Assistance (PDAF) to Batanes Electric Cooperative (Batanelco) back when he was representative of Batanes have been refuted.

“To my understanding, no such amount transpired,” he said, citing that Batanelco has already issued a denial that it received such amount.

Abad, for his part, also rebuffed calls for him to quit his post, insisting he is not involved in the pork barrel scam. He explained that he has already produced documents to refute as baseless the allegations of Napoles in her affidavit.

On allegations of nepotism, Abad claimed that except for one, all his relatives have been in government have been in government even before he entered the Department of Budget and Management (DBM). He also defended his daughter, Julia, who currently serves as chief of the Presidential Management Staff, saying she worked as chief of staff of the Senator Aquino since 2007.

“So where is the strong evidence?” Abad asked.

FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

Butch Abad By Atty. Harry Roque Jr. | May. 29, 2014 at 12:01am

I do not know if Butch Abad has become corrupt. But I did know him to be an upright and honorable man.

I’ve known Butch for about 30 years now. As an original member of the Liberal Party, I had the pleasure of meeting him as the party’s official candidate for Congressman in the lone district of Batanes.

If I’m not mistaken, I first met him in the residence of my grand uncle, Former Senate President Jovito Salonga. My Ka Jovy introduced him as a stalwart of the party. Apparently, his father before him was also a big man within the party.

I also knew him when as a law student; I worked as a legislative staff officer for another LP member of Congress. During the 8th Congress and when he was a loyal lieutenant to Ka Jovy, he had a reputation for integrity and probity. I remember Butch lost his Committee Chairmanship when he refused to join the LDP bandwagon. That made me respect him even more.

I would then have close encounters with him and his wife Dinah when during the Presidential Elections of 1992, Butch ran for the Senate. I was then in the very lonely and cash-strapped campaign of Ka Jovy for President. There were many nights when, had it not been for the kindness of Butch and his wife; I would have spent many nights literally in the sidewalks of the country. Butch and his wife personally paid for many nights of my lodging all over the country.

But it was not just his generosity in times of need that made me respect Butch. He was a man of principles, a firm believer in justice, and yes, of unimpeachable integrity. I am one of those utterly shocked that his name would now be dragged into this latest pork barrel scandal with his name surfacing prominently in the affidavit of Janet Lim Napoles, Benhur Luy’s fies, as well as the lists of Ping Lacson, Sandra Cam and Leila De Loma.

Janet’s affidavit is particularly damning for Butch. According to her, it was Butch, when he was then a Congressman, who taught her that PDAF funds could be funneled and laundered through bogus NGO’s.

While Janet’s word should not be taken as gospel truth, what bothers me is that under the rules of evidence, a positive assertion is always stronger than a negative one. This means that Janet’s narration of how she learned the ropes for her infamy, and her account of how in at least two instances she paid off Butch is stronger than any of the denials that Butch has been making and will make in the future.

I must admit that I’ve lost touch with Butch right after the Salonga Presidential debacle. I do not know if he changed since then. I saw him again when he was campaign manager for then Senatoriable Benigno Aquino III.

I was then fiercely anti-PGMA (which I do not regret even if I remain outside the kulambo today) and was a volunteer at the Team Unity’s mid-term Senatorial elections with Senator Serge Osmeña as campaign manager.

I distinctly remember having a conversation with him in Intramuros during the LP’s proclamation event. I remember him complaining about lack of funding for then Senatoriable Noynoy since many of the campaign donors dare not risk arousing the ire of then PGMA by supporting candidate Aquino.

Prior to his Senate run, I knew PNoy because of the three-impeachment complaints that I drafted and filed against PGMA.

Strangely enough, I do not recall Butch, nor many of those in the cabinet of PNoy today, to have been active in the struggle against PGMA.

Oh yes, lest I forget, at least 75% of those in PNoy’s cabinet today were with PGMA during those exciting times!

So actually, I do not know what to think about Butch nowadays.

But what I do know is: one, he has to explain his side very well, giving good reasons why Janet would lie against him; and two, present contradicting evidence against the damning testimony of both Janet and Benhur.

It does not help Butch that the warring Napoles and Luy have consistently pointed the accusing finger against him, Worse, it does not bode well for Butch that his boss has been dismissive of the assertions against him if only because this attitude sends the message that Malacañang will sweep his culpability, if any, under the rug.

At this point, what Butch needs is a venue to clear his name. If his boss P Noy really cares for him, he will facilitate an impartial and credible investigation on the accusations against him. Anything short of this will have the stench of cover-up.

The best going for Butch is that until now, he and his family have had a good and untainted name.

It bodes well for him too that people will remember him risking life and limb against the Marcos dictatorship, and being a trusted and loyal ally to Mr. Clean himself, Jovy Salonga.

As Ka Jovi lies now fighting for his last breath, perhaps, it is but apropos that Butch, being one of his favorites, clear his name.

Mr. President, please help him in this regard.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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