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Pork accusations baseless, Abad says

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Budget Secretary Butch Abad

Time and again, Budget Secretary Florencio ‘Butch’ Abad has denied the “baseless” accusations being hurled at him over the multi-billion pork barrel scam.

He also denied being one of the conspirators of the scam.

“I haven’t seen the statement or the evidence supporting it,” Abad said.

“I cannot blindly comment, but I have repeatedly said: I flatly deny baseless allegations linking me to the Napoles PDAF [Priority Development Assistance Fund] scam.”

In an unsigned affidavit given by the husband of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles to rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson, the businesswoman tagged Abad as her mentor in setting up bogus non-government organizations.

But Abad quickly denied this, saying how an alleged master like him could have remained poorer than his protégé. However, the budget secretary admitted that Napoles tried to setup meetings with him but he turned her down in 2012.

In another unsigned affidavit of Merlina Suñas, a whistleblower in the scam, Abad was tagged as among the conspirators of the scam.

In her November 2013 affidavit, Suñas said Abad transacted with Napoles when he was still the congressional representative of the lone district of Batanes from 1997 to 1999.

“I wouldn’t know and I do not really care,” Abad said.

But he just brushed off the accusations, saying it did not stop him from doing his job.

“Apart from having to clarify with the media now and then, these allegations have not affected our work. If at all, it has driven us to work harder to push for good governance reforms,” he said.

“These periodic demolition jobs against me and the President can only indicate that the reforms are hitting where they hurt.”

Other Cabinet officials tagged in the scam are Technical Educational and Skills Development Authority director general Joel Villanueva and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala.

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