MANILA, Philippines–Peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas on Wednesday filed a plunder complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman against President Benigno Aquino III and several other government officials over  the controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel.

Also named in the complaint were Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Agriculture Undersecretary Antonio Fleta, Head Executive Assistant in the Office of the Secretary of the DA Arnulfo Mañalac, Agriculture Assistant Secretaries Salvador Salacup and Ophelia Agawin, Atty. Irene D.T. Alogoc, Director Internal Audit Service of the DA; DBM Undersecretary Mario Relampagos, Janet Lim Napoles, Merlina Sunas and several John and Jane Does.

“The Ombudsman has the power to investigate even a sitting President and the Filipino people have every right to know his participation in the pork barrel scam. Aquino cannot hide under the mantle of presidential immunity,” KMP Secretary General Antonio Flores said.

Aside from plunder, they also urged Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales to prosecute them for violation of the Anti-Graft Law, Government Procurement Reform Act, the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, Malversation of Public Funds and Grave and Serious Misconduct.

While Aquino enjoys immunity from suit, Flores said “the Ombudsman have the power to investigate even a sitting President and the Filipino people have every right to know his participation in the pork barrel scam. Aquino cannot hide under the mantle of presidential immunity.”

The KMP complaint stated that “the respondent President Benigno Simeon Aquino III is being charged in this case by virtue of the Doctrine of Qualified Political Agency. The acts committed by the department secretaries under the Executive Department are deemed acts of the President.”

The complainants include KMP vice-chairperson and Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon (AMGL) chair Jose Canlas, Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) spokesperson Nestor Villanueva, KMP secretary general Antonio Flores and, his deputy secretary, Wilfredo Marbella.

Complainants said instead of ensuring that government’s fund is secure following the fertilizer scam during the stint of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, “nothing has changed. In fact it has become worst.”

“Worst, those involved in the scam were using the hapless farmers and their miserable situation as justification for the release of the public funds they have squandered. Equally revolting is the fact that the agencies of the government, in one way or another, facilitated, abetted and even directly twisted rules and regulations to ensure the successful pillage of public funds,” complainant said.

source: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net