Sandigan asked: Include Abad in PDAF case
Michael Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) - August 10, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Sandiganbayan has been asked to include Budget Secretary Florencio Abad as a co-accused in the plunder and graft charge against detained Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile in connection with the pork barrel scam.

Bonifacio Alentajan, representing one of those indicted in the criminal case, filed a motion before the anti-graft court’s Third Division yesterday asking for Abad’s inclusion in the list of respondents.

Abad should be included in the plunder and graft cases filed not only against Enrile but also those filed against Sens. Ramon Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada because of the budget secretary’s participation in the release of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of lawmakers to bogus non-government organizations (NGOs) controlled by alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, said Alentajan, the defense lawyer of Technology Resource Center (TRC) head Antonio Ortiz.

Alentajan alleged that Abad, the alter ego of President Aquino, is the most guilty among the perpetrators in the plunder cases because he was the only government official who could authorize and approve the issuance of special allotment release orders (SAROs) and notices of cash allocations (NCAs) that resulted in the alleged misuse, misappropriation and malversation of public funds.

“Clearly, Secretary Abad is a principal by direct participation, inducement and indispensable cooperation,” he stressed, noting that fellow Department of Budget and Management (DBM) officials and employees who were also indicted, led by Undersecretary Mario Relampagos, have no authority to release funds.

He said the lower ranking officials of the DBM were erroneously included as co-accused when they merely performed their duties upon orders of Abad.

“They are better discharged as accused and utilized as state witnesses,” Alentajan argued, narrating the process by which SAROs and NCAs were released by the DBM, starting with a request letter from a lawmaker all the way to the release of the money and the giving of kickbacks or commissions to lawmakers.

The lawyer said Abad’s being arbitrarily excluded as respondent or accused in the plunder and graft cases is “grossly unlawful and felonious, because (Abad) appears to be the most guilty among the perpetrators of the charges.”

“His unjustified exclusion as the principal accused granted him unwarranted benefits and advantage due to the manifest partiality, evident bad faith, and gross inexcusable negligence by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales,” Alentajan claimed, questioning what he described as obstruction of justice on the part of the investigating bodies. – With Rhodina Villanueva

ABAD ACIRC ALENTAJAN ANTONIO ORTIZ BONIFACIO ALENTAJAN BUDGET SECRETARY FLORENCIO ABAD DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT JANET LIM-NAPOLES JUAN PONCE ENRILE JUSTICE SECRETARY LEILA LIMA AND OMBUDSMAN CONCHITA CARPIO-MORALES
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