President Aquino rejects Budget Secretary Abad’s resignation

MANILA, July 11 (PNA) — President Benigno S. Aquino III on Friday disclosed that Budget Secretary Florencio Abad has tendered his resignation amid criticisms over the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

The Chief Executive, however, said he rejected the secretary’s resignation.

“Yesterday (Thursday), Secretary Abad gave me a letter tendering his resignation from the Cabinet and I have considered the same, and I have decided not to accept his resignation, and let me explain why,” President Aquino said before the start of the Cabinet budget presentation at the Aguinaldo State Dining Room of Malacañang.

“The notion in the current atmosphere is DAP was bad for our people. Even our most vociferous critics grant that DAP has benefited our people. To accept his resignation is to assign to him a wrong, and I cannot accept the notion that doing right by our people is a wrong. Therefore, I have decided not to accept his resignation and I think the whole Cabinet should be made aware of this,” he said.

Secretary Abad was present during the meeting.

Before the start of the budget presentation, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Deles prayed for the entire Cabinet “at a time that is more challenging than most.”

Deles likewise defended fellow Cabinet members who were caught in the middle of the DAP controversy.

“Legal cases have been filed against our fellow Cabinet members ascribing bad faith and more, where there is none,” she continued.

Aside from the DAP, she also mentioned the crafting of the Bangsomoro Basic Law, the recovery of ‘Yolanda’-affected areas, and the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms as the administration’s current challenges.

She noted that such challenges “have so sorely tested our souls.”

She then prayed for guidance and strength for the entire Cabinet and for the Chief Executive.

“Make us politic enough to becoming as serpents and gentle as doves. Sharpen our skills and keep fresh our vision,” she said.

She also asked for God’s grace and humility as the administration continues its mandate for “tuwid na daan.”

The Supreme Court earlier declared the DAP, which the government used to stimulate the economy, as unconstitutional.

While there have been disagreements on the use of the funds under the DAP, Malacañang maintained that the program benefited the country economically, which the Supreme Court likewise acknowledged in its decision.

The Palace also denied any misuse of DAP funds, saying that everything was done in good faith. (PNA)