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Lacson says it is difficult for him to believe Aquino would commit graft

By AMITA LEGASPI,GMA News

Senator Panfilo Lacson said Wednesday that he is having difficulty believing that former President Benigno Aquino III is capable of graft and corruption, which he is being accused of in connection with the procurement of the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia.

"Having worked closely with ex-Pnoy [Aquino's nickname] both in the Senate and Malacañang, it is difficult for me to believe that he was capable of committing graft and corruption," Lacson posted on his Twitter account.

Earlier in the day, Blue Ribbon chairman Senator Richard Gordon, presenting the draft committee report, said Aquino, former Budget secretary Florencio Abad, former Health secretary Janette Garin, and other officials are "primary conspirators" and must be held criminally liable for "all the tragedy, damage, and possible deaths" resulting from the Dengvaxia mass vaccination program.

Gordon added that Aquino, Garin, Abad and other government officials should be investigated and prosecuted for graft and violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

Aquino and Lacson were colleagues at the Senate in 2007 until 2010, when the former ran for President and won.

Lacson served as Yolanda rehabilitation czar during Aquino's term.

The senator said he has yet to read the draft committee report.

“What I’m invoking is my personal belief based on personal experiences about the former president having worked with him both in the Senate and in the executive," he said. — BM, GMA News