MANILA — Former Sen. Joker Arroyo has no right to dictate what President Benigno S. Aquino III should say in his upcoming state-of-the-nation address (SONA), according to Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero on Monday.
”It’s not for any former senator to dictate what the President should say or what he should not say in SONA,” Escudero said in a Senate media interview.
Escudero made his comment after Arroyo called on President Aquino to include in his SONA what the Chief Executive should do on the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) which was recently declared partially unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
”That’s the decision of the President but the President knows whatever he would say or not in his speech, he needs to explain to the people. Let’s just wait instead of dictating what he should say,” Escudero said.
Escudero, however, believed that Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad should address the DAP issue before the President’s SONA.
”Because if Secretary Abad addresses it before the SONA, there might be no need for the President to tackle it in his SONA,” Escudero said.
Escudero said explaining the DAP does not mean that Abad did something illegal in the release of DAP funds to the lawmakers, including 20 senators.
”It’s not only those who committed mistakes who should explain. There are questions, many are asking for details. That should be explained not because he did commit wrongdoings,” he said.
Escudero said it is time for Abad to explain now that the SC came out with its decision declaring certain parts of DAP illegal.
”I think the only reason why Secretary Abad has not been talking was because the case was still pending and the decision hasn’t come out yet,” Escudero said.
Amidst call for Abad to resign, Escudero said resignation is a “voluntary act” on the part of every official.
”We cannot force them to quit but definitely, Secretary Abad should explain not only in the court but to the public so that it will not happen again in the future,” the senator said.