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Not just Villar but whole Senate is accountable–Andaya

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Palace vows to cooperate in double entry probe

By Joel Guinto
First Posted 19:12:00 09/15/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang said it is the entire Senate, not Senate President Manuel Villar alone, who should be made accountable for a P200-million double entry in the 2008 budget, as it pledged to cooperate in any investigation into the anomaly.

Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya made the statement after Senator Panfilo Lacson blamed Villar anew for the double entry of the budget for the C-5 highway extension during a privilege speech on Monday.

Asked if Villar was, indeed, behind the double insertion, Andaya told reporters in Malacañang: “You cannot say that because he was not even part of the bicam [bicameral conference committee]; he did not even sign the bicam report, so you can never say Senator Villar.”

Andaya pointed out that Lacson and several other senators calling for the investigation of Villar were the ones who signed the bicameral conference committee report.

But Andaya said the Palace was not clearing Villar.

“What I’m saying is that it’s the institution that did it, not one person. The entire institution passed it,” he said. “It does not even matter if one two or three [lawmakers] proposed this [insertion], as long as everybody approved it, and they all said yes. It was their job to know what they were approving.”

Asked if the Palace saw political motivations in Lacson’s speech, Andaya said: “I think he’s doing his job, both a politician and a senator.”

Andaya added that the senators “would know” who made the double entry.

“The executive will welcome, will participate in whatever investigation the Senate will make. We are willing to divulge information to the public.”

Villar recently admitted that he would seek the presidency in the 2010 elections. Lacson is rumored to be eyeing the presidency in 2010 as well, after a failed bid in 2004.

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Written by joelguinto

MonUTC2008-09-15T13:07:34+00:00UTC09bUTCMon, 15 Sep 2008 13:07:34 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm09

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