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PNoy turns down Abad resignation


(Updated 6:18 p.m.) President Benigno Aquino III on Friday said he has rejected the resignation of Budget Secretary Florencio Abad.
 
PNoy, Abad longtime political allies

     President Benigno Aquino III and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad have been close political allies for quite a while, with Abad acting as one of Aquino's top guides in his last two electoral victories.
    Abad, a senior political adviser to Aquino since he became President four years ago in 2010, served as agrarian reform secretary of the President's mother, the late President Corazon Aquino, from 1989 to 1990.
    For six years,  President Aquino and Abad worked together at the House of Representatives during the 11th and 12th Congress. Aquino was then Tarlac congressman while Abad was the representative of the lone district of Batanes.
    From 2001 to 2004 during the presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, both Aquino and Abad held positions in the House leadership as members of the Liberal Party (LP). Aquino served as deputy speaker while Abad was majority floor leader.
    In 2007 or two years after he quit his Cabinet post under the Arroyo administration, Abad acted as the campaign manager of Aquino's successful senatorial bid. Aquino would serve only half of his term as he decided to run for President in 2010.
    Abad managed Aquino's successful presidential campaign and shortly after his victory, was assigned to lead the budget department.
     A member of the Liberal Party, Abad belongs to the "Balay" faction of the Aquino administration. The group is led by Aquino's running mate in the 2010 elections, Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II.
The President said he rejected Abad's resignation. —Andreo Calonzo/NB, GMA News Read more
"I decided not to accept his resignation," Aquino said at a budget presentation in Malacañang.

Aquino said Abad, who is also a senior political adviser of the President, tendered his resignation on Thursday.

The President, however, did not accept it because it would mean also accepting the notion that the administration's Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) was a mistake.

“To accept his [Abad's] resignation is to assign to him a wrong. I cannot accept the notion that doing right by our people is a wrong," Aquino told Cabinet members.

This was not the first time Aquino retained a Cabinet member who tendered his resignation.

Late last year, Aquino rejected the resignation of Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla, who was then criticized for failing to reach his target of restoring power in all towns devastated by Typhoon Yolanda by December. 
 
'DAP benefited our people'
 
Aquino again maintained that the DAP benefited Filipinos.

"The notion in the current atmosphere is that DAP is bad for our people. Even our most vociferous critics grant that the DAP has benefited our people," the President said.

Cabinet members applauded Aquino's remarks. Abad, who was present during the meeting, looked serious throughout the President's announcement.
 
Government critics, meanwhile, frowned on the President's decision to keep Abad, describing the move as 'a bad script' and 'bad acting.' 

At the Senate, the committee on finance has summoned Abad to make a public accounting on how the Aquino administration spent billions of pesos in public funds released under the DAP.
 
Abad has been linked to the controversy involving the DAP, some parts of which the Supreme Court declared as unconstitutional. He is facing a plunder complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman for the controversial spending mechanism.
 

In a ruling last week, the high court unanimously declared certain acts under the government's DAP as unconstitutional, including the declaration of unobligated allotments as savings, the cross-border transfers of savings of the executive to other branches of government, and the funding of projects not stated in the national budget. 
 
Malacañang has repeatedly said that the DAP was undertaken in good faith to boost the country's economic performance.

Drilon: PNoy is sending a message

In an e-mailed statement, Senate President Franklin Drilon said he understands why the President refused Abad's resignation.

"In rejecting Secretary Abad's resignation, the President has sent a strong message that he would always stand by what is right. Amid all the political noise and early posturing for 2016, a weak president would've taken the easy way out," Drilon said.

He added the Budget secretary "has been the target of a vicious propaganda campaign."
 — Joel Locsin and Andreo Calonzo/RSJ/KG/NB/JDS, GMA News

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