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Atienza says 2011 plunder complaint 'no longer in my consciousness'

Vice presidential bet and Deputy Speaker Lito Atienza on Tuesday said the plunder complaint filed against him in 2011 is no longer in his consciousness as the issue has already been addressed.

Interviewed on Super Radyo dzBB’s "Ikaw Na Ba? The Vice Presidential Interviews," Atienza said nothing happened with the complaint, and that he was cleared by the Commission on Audit.

“Wala [Nothing],” Atienza said when asked on what happened with the complaint.

“Hindi ko nga alam kung hindi mo nabanggit. Wala na sa aking consciousness 'yun sapagkat sinagot ko nang malinaw yan," he added.

(I would not have remembered it if you did not mention it. It was no longer in my consciousness because I already responded clearly to that.)

Then secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and chair of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission, Atienza was among the respondents in a 2011 complaint filed with the Office of the Ombudsman over a contract that was allegedly disadvantageous to the government, overpriced, and done without public bidding.

According to the complaint, Atienza and other officials violated the anti-graft law for entering into the contract, which involved the removal of silt, debris and sediment along a portion of the Pasig River.

Atienza, during the "Ikaw Na Ba?" interview, also denied that he had investments in mining operations when he was DENR secretary, calling the accusation "fake news."

“'Yan ang tinatawag na fake news, fake accusation, and made-up issue. Gusto nilang palabasin na nasa mining ako. Wala ako sa mining,” he said.

(That’s what I call fake news, fake accusations, and made-up issue. They want to make it appear that I was involved in mining. I was not involved in mining.)

The running mate of Senator Manny Pacquiao, Atienza also clarified the issue on his stand on conserving and preserving environmental and historical sites after the demolition of Jai Alai Building as well as the construction of a campus and an office of the Department of Education at the Mehan Garden during his stint as Manila mayor.

"Isa ako sa proponent ng conservation at preservation [I am one of the proponents in conservation and preservation]. I believe in the value of history even in the structures of the past that we should preserve today," he said.
According to him, a forestry expert had checked the trees in the Mehan Garden to see if they were worth preserving. He said the expert had assured him that there was no bird sanctuary in the garden.

He said the area where the DepEd built an office is owned by the department. —KBK, GMA News