Since the release to the public of lists of government officials and members of Congress who’d allegedly had dealings with alleged pork barrel scam ringleader Janet Lim Napoles, the scramble to clear names and deny, deny, and deny has been pure madness. One of the more notable of the names mentioned in these lists is Budget Secretary Florencio ‘Butch’ Abad.
In a poignant article published on (where else?) “social news network” Rappler.com, Abad’s chief-of-staff Clare Amador went on a 1000-word emotional defense of her boss. Turns out, this blurb was originally posted on Amador’s Facebook account. Interesting, indeed, that Rappler would so quickly pick it up as worthy for exhibit on its venerable site.
Much of what Amador wrote was about what Abad says about stuff. Indeed, one could almost feel the struggle Amador may have gone through writing such an article — trying to come up with something with so little to work with. One Dereck Hann noted this in a comment he posted…
You should really be using more of what he has ACHIEVED, rather than what he talks or plans to do. From your writing, it sounds like he is one helluva talker. Why are you telling us how much he had to endure growing up? Every[one] suffers growing up.
It surprised me that you include a snippet about forgetting the password of a facebook account, not to mention forgetting what email address used to make it. That’s a glimpse of poor organization and perhaps lack of focus.
I’m not saying anything bad about him, but what I’m trying to say is, you probably shouldn’t have written this.
Abad, being one of the men of a President who won his office on the back of celebrity endorsements, should know by now that the words of an “unknown” (words used by Amador herself to describe, well, herself) are no match for the words of a celebrity like Napoles. Napoles had reportedly claimed that it was Secretary Abad who “taught her how to form foundations.”
In the unsigned affidavit, Napoles said she “bought” an existing foundation, the Philippine Social Development Foundation Incorporated, using the knowledge she supposedly obtained from Abad. Later, she set up several other foundations “to enter into agreements” with politicians.
Napoles claimed that she gave 40- to 50-percent commissions to certain senators and congressmen in exchange for their PDAF allocation.
Abad, of course, denied he had ever dealt with Napoles (a claim becoming increasingly familiar nowadays) “either as representative of Batanes, as Budget and Management Secretary, or as an official of any other public office that has been entrusted to me.” Furthermore…
Abad said when he was still a legislator, all projects he sponsored under his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) were “above board” and none was coursed through any bogus NGO.
Interestingly, Manila Times columnist Ben Kritz pointed out in a mid-2013 Get Real Post article that there may be some cause to believe that Abad may not be above using his position to curry favours for his favoured legislators…
Abad’s home district, incidentally, comprises the Batanes Islands, which have a population of roughly 15,000 (the country’s smallest province) and are represented in Congress by his wife Dina. While most Congressional districts receive between P70 million and P140 million in PDAF funds, Abad reportedly approved P800 million for his wife’s district at the end of 2011.
The plot thickens.
Indeed, Abad was apparently the architect of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), what Inquirer columnist Conrado de Quiros described as “yet again another one of those lump-sum appropriations unheard of until he pulled it out of his hat.”
Abad had seemingly pulled the DAP out of his hat to (in de Quiros’s words) “precipitate growth” by way of funding Senators’ “favorite infrastructure projects”. The DAP was supposedly used to do this to the tune of P50 million on top of the conventional pork appropriations of each Senator in 2012. One will note that Senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Bongbong Marcos did not receive these allegedly DAP-funded appropriations. Both had voted in favour of former Chief Justice Renato Corona during his impeachment trial that year.
Hopefully, Clare Amador really knew what she was talking about when she wrote that rather touching plea in defense of her boss, Budget Secretary Butch Abad. For her sake. She need look no further than the fate of that other loyal chief-of-staff, Gigi Reyes for a few lessons on what ‘loyalty’ to one’s boss pays.
[Photo courtesy Bloomberg.]
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