Aquino, Abad cleared in scam
This refers to the editorial “Where will the buck stop?” (5/14/14) naming me and President Aquino in connection with the fertilizer fund scam, for which former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was recently found inculpable by the Office of the Ombudsman.
I believe it is worth clarifying that President Aquino’s name and mine have long been cleared in the course of Senate investigations on the fertilizer scam. Our supposed involvement was traced to the
early stages of the scam’s development, when its engineers—among whom were former agriculture secretary and undersecretary Luis Lorenzo and Jocelyn Bolante—attempted to raise enough funds to bankroll the scheme. President Aquino and I were then serving as representatives of Tarlac and Batanes, respectively, and our names had been included in the list of fund recipients without our knowledge.
It also bears mentioning that neither I nor the President received any of the funds that were later distributed among a number of lawmakers in the course of the scam. This was conclusively established as fact during the investigation by the Senate committee on agriculture, which was headed by then Sen. Ramon Magsaysay Jr.
I would like to emphasize my respect for the Inquirer’s work of enlightening Filipinos on current events and political issues. At the same time, I realize that the editorial may lead some readers to wrongly associate my name—and that of the President—with the fertilizer fund scam. At a time when the public eye is trained even more closely on governance and corruption issues in the Philippine bureaucracy, I wish to remain unambiguous about my position: that public service requires great transparency, accountability, and moral soundness among those who wish to engage in it, and that in my entire career as a public servant, I have always endeavored to exemplify these qualities as best as I can.
—FLORENCIO B. ABAD, secretary,
Department of Budget and Management
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