Drilon to public: Stay focused on real issues

By , on October 31, 2013

Senate President Franklin Drilon (Wikipedia photo)
Senate President Franklin Drilon (Wikipedia photo)

On the heels of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s speech defending the Disbursement Acceleration Program, Senate President Franklin Drilon stressed his all-out support for Aquino and urged the public to focus on the real issues and not to be distracted by propaganda.

“The negative propaganda campaign against the administration steered people’s focus away from the real issue which is corruption in the use of the PDAF…” Drilon said.

Drilon made reference to the scam involving the abuse of the Priority Development Assistance Funds, more commonly known as pork barrel, in which three senators and numerous others are accused of plunder and malversation of funds, diverting around P10-billion into phony nongovernment organizations set-up by pork queen Janet Lim Napoles.

The Senate President also claimed that he was one of the targets of a “highly-funded vilification campaign” to make him appear crooked and corrupt in the eyes of the public.

“Despite efforts of detractors to link me to Janet Napoles, the evidence shows that I did not allocate any of the PDAF allotted to me for projects to bogus NGOs,” Drilon said.

Aquino, in a public address over primetime television, lambasted critics for employing tactics of “an old politician.”

“If you can’t explain it, muddle it; if you can’t deodorize it, make everyone else stink; if you can’t look good, make everyone look bad,” is unfortunately the rule that applies, according to the President.

Aquino slammed critics who have insinuated a link between several Malacanang officials and Napoles. He also spoke out against critics who called for the abolition of the President’s Social Fund (PSF) and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

The President clarified that neither the PSF nor the DAP are pork barrel funds, pointing out that these are accumulated savings earned through due diligence in government transactions.

“Because these funds were abused in the past, people are saying that perhaps we will abuse them today—even if no one has accused us of stealing or of using them in the wrong manner,” Aquino noted.

He added, “I repeat: The issue here is theft. I did not steal. Those who have been accused of stealing are those who are sowing confusion.”

Backing up Aquino’s statements, Drilon emphasized the need for public vigilance to ensure that those proven guilty of plunder and malversation of public funds receive the punishment due them.

“A successful resolution of this case will bring about drastic anti-corruption reforms in government and more importantly, it will purge the government of corrupt officials,” Drilon said.

He likewise pointed out that the Senate has already taken measures towards reform in government, and re-establish people’s trust. These steps include waiving the PDAF for 2013 and excluding it from the 2014 budget.