PNoy still trusts TESDA chief despite pork scam tag

Posted at 02/26/2014 3:27 PM | Updated as of 02/26/2014 3:27 PM

MANILA -- Malacañang on Wednesday said President Benigno Aquino III continues to trust Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General Joel Villanueva even if he has been tagged in the pork barrel scam.

Villanueva, a former Citizens' Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) party-list representative, was named by Technology Resource Center (TRC) director general Dennis Cunanan as one of the lawmakers who channeled their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations to Janet Lim Napoles' fake non-government organizations (NGOs).

Cunanan, one of the accused in the case, is now under provisional coverage of the Department of Justice's (DOJ) Witness Protection Program (WPP).

According to Presidential Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma, there is no need for Villanueva to resign from his post or go on leave.

He said Villanueva is ready to face whatever charges may be filed against him in connection with the scam.

He added that the TESDA chief has also expressed willingness to cooperate in the probe and provide information on what he knows about the anomaly.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima also earlier said Villanueva is not compelled to go on leave since no charges have been filed against him yet.

Villanueva is still being investigated by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), she said.

Cunanan went on leave from the TRC after he was linked to the scandal. -- Report from Junry Hidalgo, dzMM