Alcala won't resign over Napoles list

MANILA, Philippines – He is one of the two Cabinet secretaries named in the controversial Napoles list but Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala would rather not dwell on the issues surrounding his alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam

A week after Malacañang said Alcala and former Batanes representative and now Budget Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad still enjoy the trust of the President, Alcala said Monday, May 19, he would not resign over the scam. 

"As long as the President is not telling me to resign, I don't think I need to resign. Just last Saturday po, mahabang panahon po kami magkasama ng pangulo at personally sinabi niya sa akin: 'Mag-concentrate ka sa production kasi diyan ka magaling, ikaw ang inspirasyon ng magsasaka at mangingisda. Wag kang magpapasira," Alcala said. 

(Just last Saturday, the President and I were together. And he personally told me: 'Concentrate on production because that's what you're good at. You are the inspiration of farmers and fishermen. Don't let this ruin you.')

Just like lawmakers included in the list, Alcala questioned the credibility of the Napoles list. 

"I don't see na itong mga lumalabas na mga ito dapat pa nating pukulan ng mas mahabang atensiyon dahil po araw-araw iba-iba ang listahang dumadating. Sabi ko, ang hintayin po natin, ay tignan natin ay yung listahan ng pambalot sa tinapa ay baka ilagay na rin po," Alcala said.  

(I don't see that these lists that are coming out should be given much attention because there are different lists coming out every day. I said, let's just wait, maybe even the list of fish wrappers would also be included.)

At least 2 different lists have been released to the public so far, including those from Rehabilitation Secretary Panfilo Lacson and principal whistleblower Benhur Luy. But the Napoles camp said the only valid version is the one they submitted to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. 

Special instruction

In 2013, President Benigno Aquino III defended Alcala following the release of state audit reports showing that one government corporation under the Department of Agriculture misused P1.35 billion worth of of lawmakers' Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) from 2007 to 2011. 

Reports showed that Department of Agriculture (DA) agencies and government-owned and controlled corporations under it were used as channels of misused pork barrel. 

Alcala himself disclosed in 2013 that P39 million worth of public funds channeled to DA went to non-governmental organizations controlled by alleged pork barrel mastermind Janet Lim Napoles. 

Despite the issues hounding his department, Alcala said he holds on to the instructions made by Aquino. 

"Wala na pong mananalo doon sa instruction na sinabi ng Pangulo na mag-concentrate po tayo sa production plus ang pinaka-special vitamins ko po – pagdating sa mga lalawigan, sila po ang nagsasabi, 'secretary kailangan ka pa namin, magtulong-tulong tayo.' Wala pong mananalo doon," Alcala said.

(Nothing can beat the instruction of the President for us to concentrate on production plus my special vitamins. In the provinces, they are the ones who tell me, 'Secretary, we still need you, let's help each other. Nothing can beat that.) - Rappler.com