By Florence F. Hibionada
Senior Reporter, Philippine News Service (PNS)
ILOILO, PHILIPPINES – Iloilo Second District Representative Augusto Boboy Syjuco officially faced off with accusers on the P8.2 Billion corruption charge.
With complaints filed before the Office of the Ombudsman in the Visayas, Syjuco decried what he said was the non-stop smear campaign waged against him.
“Impossible falsehoods,” the solon said in a PNS interview as he made light of the accusations saying “unless a miracle from God, what is impossible cannot be true.”
From P2.4 Billion initial charge on Syjuco’s supposed corruption as Secretary of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), the amount has since ballooned to P8.2 Billion.
“No one can steal what was never there in the first place,” Syjuco said pointing out that the amount as hyped “is more than the budget of TESDA for my last 4 years!”
Syjuco in his explanation addressed the matter to Malacanang and the general public.
“Please excuse me, Your Excellency President Simeon Benigno Aquino III and my dear Filipino countrymen, but the amounts they are talking about are physically impossible to steal from an agency like TESDA. Not even from the Bangko Sentral can anyone steal that much money of over 8.2 billion pesos,” he said.
And to further prove his point, Syjuco “simplified the math” with specifics saying not even the likes of action movie hero Arnold Schwarzenegger can probably carry that much money.
“And that much stolen money will choke our banking system and trigger and make public all sorts of alarms in the well-enforced restrictions of the Anti-Money Laundering Council both locally and Internationally,” he added. “Ridiculous! If I had even 3% of that money, I could be my own Department of Budget and Management already! I would not still be begging the President so hard at these late hours for my congressional district’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).”
As for the Ombudsman charges, Syjuco said he is ready to defend himself against the charges.
“For the sake of truth, justice and decency, I deserve to be treated as a decent human being and the constituency of over 300,000 poor Ilonggo farmer citizens in our 2nd Congressional District of Iloilo to be regarded with the same equity, dignity and self-worth as all other Filipinos everywhere,” Representative Syjuco ended.