By Janice Cave
MANILA, (PNA) — Malacañang defended administration ally Senate Pres. Franklin Drilon and said he was not involved in the P10 billion pork barrel scam allegedly masterminded by detained businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles whom the lawmaker admitted meeting several times in the past.
Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said Drilon was not among the lawmakers mentioned in a Commission on Audit special report who allegedly placed a portion of their Priority Development Assistance Fund to fake non-government organizations.
“In so far as Senator Drilon is concerned, there has been no allegations of diversion [of PDAF] to any Napoles NGOs… Pictures should not be a basis for judgment but acts that involve taxpayers money,” Lacierda told reporters in a media briefing.
“The fact that you have a picture taken with somebody is not a proof of wrongdoing,” he added.
Drilon’s integrity was being questioned when he and wife Mila were seen in photos with Napoles in several parties.
Drilon, together with House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, was tasked by Pres. Aquino to devise a new mechanism to replace pork barrel after he abolished it last month.
The senate president admitted knowing the businesswoman “socially” but denied that he used his PDAF to fund fake NGOs.
Lacierda said Drilon “volunteered” the information of knowing Napoles to Pres. Aquino but only after the businesswoman surrendered two weeks ago.