Lawyer: Budget chief is most guilty in 'pork' scam

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(File photo) Budget Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Budget Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad might soon find himself in more legal trouble.

Lawyer Bonifacio Alentajan, former president of the Philippine Constitutional Association (Philconsa), said that he would file on Monday (August 10) a motion before the Sandiganbayan that would make Abad the principal accused in the plunder and graft cases filed against detained Sens. Juan Ponce Enrile, Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada, and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr.

Under the Revised Penal Code, a principal accused is someone who, among other things, is supposed to have taken a direct part in the execution of a crime or directly forces or induces others to commit it.  

According to Alentajan, the budget secretary would be the most guilty among the suspects since he was the only one who could authorize the issuance of the Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) and the notices of cash allocations.

Late last month, the lawyer filed a plunder complaint against Abad for allegedly carrying out the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program. He argued that Abad committed a crime when he approved the realignment of government funds without the approval of Congress.

The lawyer also accused Abad of awarding ₱50 million to 19 senators for voting to impeach then Chief Justice Renato Corona in 2012.

Abad, however, dismissed the plunder complaint filed against him and said that it "is absolutely without any basis."

He added that it was just “a figment" of the complainant's imagination.

The DAP first came under fire when Estrada, in a privilege speech back in 2013, said that he himself received additional pork as incentive for Corona's impeachment.

Abad has since clarified that the funds given to senators were part of DAP, a mechanism designed to fast-track public spending.

In July last year, the Kabataan Partylist also filed a similar plunder complaint against Abad but the Office of the Ombudsman has yet to resolve it.

The Supreme Court has declared parts of the DAP illegal, including the transfer of the executive's savings to other offices.

CNN Philippines' AC Nicholls, Mikas Matsuzawa, and Anjo Alimario contributed to this report.