MANILA, Aug. 11 (PNA) — Budget and Management Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad on Tuesday slammed allegations made by Bonifacio Alentajan — who recently filed a motion in the Sandiganbayan to implead Abad in a string of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) cases — saying that these claims were “divorced from reality” and “lacked substance.”
“The motion filed by Attorney Bonifacio Alentajan is total nonsense. Not only are his accusations devoid of substance—they are also completely divorced from reality. For one, the alleged irregularities covered in the complaint took place between 2007 and 2009. I wasn’t even Budget Secretary then. Neither was I holding public office in that period,” said Abad in a statement.
Public records show that the DBM Secretary served as the representative of the lone district of Batanes from 1987 to 1989, and again from 1995 to 2004. He was appointed Secretary of the Department of Education (DepEd) in 2004, but he resigned the following year as part of the Hyatt 10, following the “Hello Garci” exposé and growing concerns on the legitimacy of then Arroyo administration. He began his term as Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary under the Aquino Administration in 2010.
The DBM chief also struck at Alentajan’s claim that Special Allotment Release Orders (SAROs) and the Notices of Cash Allocations (NCAs) were only issued under his specific authority.
“Alentajan needs to get his facts straight. Since I assumed my post in 2010, the authority to sign these SAROs and NCAs has actually been delegated to an Undersecretary,” Abad said.
“It is impossible to take Alentajan’s case seriously. I seriously doubt that he will pursue this case with any sort of moral conviction, given the weakness of his arguments. It seems fairly clear that Alentajan is only acting under orders here, specifically to discredit my name. Giving him any measure of attention would only be a waste of time,” he added.
Abad also emphasized the need to support the Office of the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan in their pursuit of various corruption cases, including those related to PDAF misuse.
“We in the DBM join the public in their call for accountability, especially in the misuse of public funds. At the same time, we continue to support the Office of the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan in their pursuit of corruption cases, including those related to the PDAF scam. However, baseless allegations like Alentajan’s do not help the cause of justice. They only undermine it,” he said. (PNA)