“Kawalan ni Budget Secretary Abad, kung di siya pumunta. Naniniwala naman akong Abad is ready to explain. For transparency’s sake, kailangan niyang sagutin kung saan napunta yung DAP, alin yung lumabag sa batas?” Escudero said in an interview with dzBB’s Nimfa Ravelo.
The Senate committee on finance has summoned Abad to make a public accounting on how the Aquino administration spent billions of pesos in public funds released under the DAP, parts of which have been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
Escudero has asked Abad to appear at a public hearing on July 21, after Abad said his department needed time to collate documents needed to explain the DAP.
“Nagtanong kami at humingi ng impormasyon. Tinanong namin kung kumpleto yung datos, at kelangan pa daw nila ng oras, kaya nga sa July 21 ang setting,” Escudero explained.
Meanwhile, Escudero said he is confident that President Benigno Aquino III will not try to block Abad’s appearance at the Senate.
“Sa tingin ko papayagan siya ng Pangulo. Maski mayroong executive privilege di naman covered nito ‘yun,” he said.
Escudero also acknowledged that the Supreme Court decision to declare parts of the DAP unconstitutional benefits Congress.
“Totoong napalakas ng Supreme Court yung kapangyarihan ng lehislatura, ngunit di ako naniniwalang natali ang kamay ng pangulo sa decision ng Korte Suprema. Marahil, mas mahaba lang ang proseso,” he said.
Still, Escudero said Aquino needs to explain how the funds were used.
“Wala naman sinabi ang SC na binulsa nila ang pera, o kaya na para yun sa personal na kapakinabangan. Ang sabi lang ng Korte, mali lang daw yung proseso ayon sa batas. Kelangan ipaliwanag na sa tama napunta yung pondo [at] kung sino ang nakaginhawa,” he said.
Youth leaders, including Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon, have filed a plunder case against Abad at the Office of the Ombudsman, saying the Budget secretary “systematically misappropriated, converted, misused, and malversed public funds” through DAP. — Patricia Denise Chiu/JDS, GMA News