CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts, Sept 23 (Mabuhay) – President Aquino encouraged the filing of charges against his allies and “people around” him if they believe they have been dishonest while serving in government.
This was the President’s answer to a question posed by a Harvard University student, who asked what he would say to his critics that while he is committed to honesty, some of his allies are not.
“Well, the cards are open. If they think they I have dishonest people around me, then all they have to do is file an appropriate case,” Mr. Aquino said.
“The Ombudsman in particular, I think, even investigates instances where complaints are unsigned or anonymous precisely to ferret out those who are not treading the correct path,” he added.
This was only one of the several questions fielded to the President during an open forum following his delivery of a policy speech at the Kennedy School of Government Institute of Politics at Harvard late Monday afternoon (early Tuesday morning in Manila).
A citizens’ group had filed a complaint against Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Alan Purisima, accusing him of indirect bribery, graft, and plunder for not filing a proper Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN).
Purisima is known to be a close friend of the President.
The Coalition of Filipino Consumers said that Purisima’s mansion in San Leonardo town in Nueva Ecija could not be just worth P3.7 million as the PNP chief declared in his SALN.
The group also said that Purisima’s acceptance of donations from his Mason brothers for the renovation of the so-called White House in the PNP Camp Crame headquarters in Quezon City was tantamount to plunder and indirect bribery.
The renovation reportedly cost P25-30 million.
Vice President Jejomar Binay, who has long been associated with the Aquino family, also said that he was also willing to subject himself to a lifestyle check amid allegations he had enriched himself while he was mayor of Makati City, Metro Manila’s prime business district, for many years.
A number of the President’s allies have also been named as alleged recipients of the multi-billion-peso pork barrel scam but they have all issued blanket denials. None of them have been charged as well by the government.
On the other hand, opposition Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, and Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr., as well as businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, are facing plunder charges for their alleged involvement in the scam, facing plunder charges. (MNS)