Aquino camp hits VACC 'pattern': File cases vs ex-president, get gov't post

MANILA, Philippines – The camp of former president Benigno Aquino III slammed the latest plunder complaint lodged by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption against the former Philippine chief, alleging that taking such legal action was an apparent "ploy" of its members to get government posts.

Abigail Valte, Aquino's spokesperson, made the observation on Thursday, May 10, after VACC lawyer Ferdinand Topacio filed before the Office of the Ombudsman plunder, graft, and malversation of public funds complaints against Aquino, his former officials, and several others over the P3.5-billion Dengvaxia procurement.

The VACC has been filing complaints against Aquino and officials who served his administration, including former budget secretary Florencio Abad and former Health chief Janette Garin, over the Dengvaxia controversy and other issues.

“The latest VACC complaint has less to do with a true desire to seek accountability, but more of a ploy to get more government posts for themselves. Even the severely inebriated can see the pattern: anyone who files a complaint against the former president is magically given an appointment,” Valte said in a text message.

“The VACC can be assured that the former president is ready to respond to their unfounded complaints when required to do so,” she added.

In February, the VACC filed separate complaints for graft, malversation of public funds, causing undue injuries and violations of the procurement law against Aquino, Abad, Garin, current and former Department of Health officials, as well as executives of pharmaceutical manufacturers Sanofi Pasteur and Zuellig before the Department of Justice.

The group also filed an election complaint against Aquino before the Commission on Elections for allegedly spending government funds during the 2016election ban in 2016.

In February, suspended lawyer Eligio Mallari, aided by the VACC, filed a graft complaint against Aquino, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, and Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) officials over the Chief Justice's appointment in 2012.

After filing complaints against President Rodrigo Duterte's critics, including Aquino, VACC founding chairman Dante Jimenez was appointed head of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, VACC member Manny Luna as PACC Commissioner, and Jacinto “Jing” Paras as labor undersecretary.

Jimenez, Luna, and Paras also filed the drug case against Senator Leila de Lima, the impeachment complaint against Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales which was not endorsed by any lawmaker; and the complaint against Overall Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang, among others. –

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is a multimedia reporter focusing on media, technology, and disinformation.