MANILA (Mabuhay) – Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad on Monday defended Interior Secretary Mar Roxas against allegations that his camp was behind the inclusion of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General Joel Villanueva in the latest batch of politicians sued in connection with the pork barrel scam.
On the sidelines of the budget briefing of the Development Budget Coordinating Committee at the House of Representatives, Abad told reporters it is not in Roxas’ character to malign an ally.
“I don’t think Sec. Roxas is going to do that to a close ally. I don’t think it’s in his character and nature,” he said.
Earlier, a Manila Times report quoted Villanueva as saying that “jealousy” might have driven some Liberal Party (LP) stalwarts to find a way for him to be sued for the alleged misuse of his pork barrel allocation as the congressional representative of CIBAC party-list.
Villanueva is accused of allegedly receiving P2.33 million in kickbacks from his pork barrel fund allocations.
The Manila Times news report cited as reason for his inclusion in the case a supposed plan to ease him out of the Cabinet and LP’s senatorial slate for the 2016 elections.
While Villanueva remains an administration ally, Abad said Malacañang doesn’t meddle in the Department of Justice’s job of investigating officials who are suspected of wrongdoing.
He said the government doesn’t look at an official’s political affiliations when deciding whether or not to file cases against him or her.
“The President and the administration is color-blind as far as these cases is concerned. If you committed wrongdoing, you’ll be subject to investigation. Being blind to [one’s] political color remains the policy to this day,” Abad said. (MNS)