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Resignation up to Abad—Palace

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Budget Secretary Butch Abad

The decision to resign over the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) is for Budget Secretary Butch Abad to make, Malacañang on Tuesday said.

“That is a decision left for them to make,” Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Sonny Coloma said.

If there are any officials who will resign, Coloma said the decision then will be up to President Aquino.

“It will be up to the President to decide when that eventuality happens,” he said.

Coloma also said Malacañang will not yet release the list of 116 projects funded by the DAP until a decision has been reached on whether the government will file a motion for reconsideration on the unanimous Supreme Court ruling declaring unconstitutional key provisions of the controversial program.

Several groups have called for Abad’s resignation even as youth leaders led by Kabataan partylist Rep. Terry Ridon on Tuesday filed plunder charges against the budget secretary with placards saying “a bad secretary must go to jail.”

The complaint was filed before the Office of the Ombudsman, claiming Abad’s “systematically misappropriated, converted, misused and malversed public funds through his executive issuances and the programs implemented by him … in connivance with other government officials.”

“All the elements of plunder exist in the instant case. The aggregate amount of plundered funds exceeds P50 million, amounting to no less than P144 billion as of 2013,” Ridon said.

If not for his immunity from charges, Aquino would have been included in the 16-page complaint, Ridon said.

“Filing criminal charges against Abad is just the first half of the legal actions that we will pursue. We will be filing an impeachment complaint against Aquino next,” he said. “The very fact that Aquino is coddling a criminal like  Abad only proves that the two of them have connived to execute this multi-billion monstrosity  known as the DAP.”

Among the petitioners were YAN national convenor Victor Villanueva, Ateneo de Manila student publication Matanglawin editor Dyan Francisco, YAN-Ateneo de Manila University chapter coordinator Jerome Flores, Philippine Collegian editor Mary Joy Capistrano, University of the  Philippines student regent Neill John Macuha, Katipunan Kontra Korupsyon convenor Eduardo Gabral, UP Manila Collegian editor Elizabeth Fodulla,  Polytechnic University of the Philippines Catalyst editor April Joy Camacho, YAN-UP Open University coordinator Michelle Lado, Anakbayan chair Vencer Crisostomo, Student Christian Movement spokesperson Einstein Recedes, League of Filipino Students spokesperson Charlotte Velasco, College Editors Guild of the Philippines president Marc Lino Abila, and National Union of Students of the Philippines president Sarah Jane Elago.

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