|PHL President Aquino|
Why should the Philippine President Noynoy Aquino be sorry to the prelates whose names were dragged to the infamous scandal of "unauthorized" Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) luxurious sports utility vehicles (SUVs) donations?
PNoy stood firm in his decision not to apologize to those seven involved Catholic Bishops in PCSO vehicles irregularities. He had not done anything wrong with them, he said in an ambush interview of the media yesterday. The alleged "Pajero" anomaly in the state-lottery agency did not transpire in his present administration. It did occur in 2008 and 2009 as to the findings of the Commission on Audit (CoA).
Aquino said in Filipino, “Hindi po yata tama na kami yung nagreport at ngayon binabantayan at nilalagay sa tama ang lahat ng sistema, eh kami pa ang mag-aapologize [I don't think it is right that we have been reforming the system and we are the one to apologize].“
Some bishops like Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez of Marbel, Bishop Elenito Galido of Iligan, Bishop Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon, and Bishop Jose Collin Bagaforo of Cotabato had asked President Aquino and Juico to apologize for the issue has damaged the Catholic Church and divided its members.
The best form of apology is the resignation of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Chairman Margarita Juico's resignation, the Bishops said.
Aquino said he had found no reason for Juico to apologize over the damage the issue on the Catholic Church. Nothing wrong happened.
Thus, Board secretary lawyer Eduardo G. Araullo said the current officials of the charity agency did nothing wrong in exposing the vehicle grants to the prelates, thus, there was no reason for them to resign.
Aquino clarified, “We all know that we are not quarreling with them. The issue could have gone worse if that was our intention but we did not go into that.“
Some of the vehicles issued to the bishops were already returned as reported. However those bishops have to pay back the P8.258 million PCSO funds. The Coalition for Family and Life, the Catholic lay organization, started a campaign to raise funds to settle the said huge amount to PCSO, according to their legal counsel.
Some prelates supporters responded to the campaign like Ang Galing Pinoy party-list Rep. Juan Miguel Arroyo who donated P50,000 to the fund, Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero, 100,000; and Sen. Vicente "Tito", P200,000.
The government is committed to bring back PCSO in "solid footing" to adequately address the needs of the poor and the sick, the PHL President said.
Source: Manila Bulletin, July 16, 2011