Rappler file photo of Abad; Alcala file photo courtesy of the Malacau00f1ang Palace
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang said on Saturday, June 28, that it supports the vetting process being conducted by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on the alleged involvement of two Cabinet secretaries in the multi-billion-peso pork barrel scam.
In an interview with state-run Radyo ng Bayan, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said Malacañang supports the DOJ's verification of the alleged inclusion of Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala in the list submitted by alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles.
"The investigation process, evaluation process of the DOJ under the leadership of Secretary Leila de Lima is 'colorblind,' so we support the process," Lacierda said, responding to questions. (READ: Palace: We aren’t protecting allies in pork scam)
Lacierda made the statement when asked about the pronouncement of De Lima that the two Cabinet officials are not yet off the hook, and that she has no qualms about investigating her peers in the Cabinet, should the evidence so warrant.
The Palace spokesperson also reiterated that the vetting process, which is based on the affidavit of Napoles, is taking some time because the DOJ is ensuring that statements and accusations are supported by documentary evidence.
"We support the process and we leave it with Secretary Leila de Lima to determine who would be the respondents in the next batch of cases," he said.
President Benigno Aquino III has said that he will not fire Cabinet officials implicated in the pork barrel scam in the absence of sufficient evidence. (READ: Palace: Abad, Alcala 'enjoy the President's trust')