Malacañang on Tuesday said there is nothing malicious about President Rodrigo Duterte naming lawmakers allegedly involved in corruption at the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
In a taped speech on Monday night, Duterte named at least nine lawmakers who allegedly received kickbacks from project contractors. These legislators have since denied the allegations.
Despite having named them, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte himself clarified that they are still under investigation and have not yet been proven guilty.
“There was nothing unfair, there was nothing malicious kasi inulit-ulit po ni Presidente, hindi pa naman sila proven guilty (because the President repeatedly said that they’re not yet proven guilty),” he said in a virtual presser.
He denied claims that Duterte was subjecting the said lawmakers to trial by publicity.
“It’s not a trial by publicity dahil nilinaw po ni Presidente (because the President clarified) they have the presumption of innocence and these are people who are being investigated. So di naman sinasabi nagkasala na pero merong imbestigasyon ongoing sa mga ito (he didn’t say they’re already guilty but they are being investigated),” he added.
Roque also rejected the remark made by former Ifugao Rep. Teodoro “Teddy” Baguilat, one of the lawmakers on the list, that Duterte’s decision to bare their names was a “diversionary tactic” to draw attention from some of his close-in security members receiving Covid-19 vaccine from China.
Besides Baguilat, the other lawmakers Duterte named as allegedly involved in graft at the DPWH are: 4th District of Quezon Rep. Angelina “Helen” Tan; Occidental Mindoro Rep. Josephine Ramirez-Sato; Quezon City 5th District Rep. Alfred Vargas; Misamis Occidental Rep. Henry Oaminal; Isabela Rep. Alyssa Sheena Tan; Northern Samar 1st District Rep. Paul Daza; ACT-CIS Party-list Rep. Eric Go Yap; and Bataan 1st District Rep. Geraldine Roman. SOVEREIGNPH