Palace stands by TESDA chief Villanueva

Posted at 03/06/2014 10:24 PM | Updated as of 03/06/2014 10:24 PM

MANILA -- Malacanang stands by Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General Joel Villanueva despite him being linked to the pork barrel scam.

Villanueva, former CIBAC party-list representative, is one of 6 Aquino administration allies who have been linked by on-leave Technology Resource Center (TRC) chief Dennis Cunanan to pork barrel scam-tainted projects of the agency.

The others are former Congressman Ruffy Biazon, and incumbent Congressmen Amado Bagatsing, Gonrado Estrella III, Rufus Rodriguez, and Victor Ortega.

Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma defended Villanueva, saying the latter has already provided all relevant information regarding the use of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

But he maintained the administration is not politicizing the pork barrel scam to spare its allies.

"DOJ (Department of Justice) is tasked with the case buildup pertaining to the alleged misuse of PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) by lawmakers. The President's guideline to the DOJ is clear: Let the evidence point to the direction of the inquiry. No one is being singled out and no one is being spared. Secretary (Joel) Villanueva has declared in various media that he has voluntarily provided all relevant information regarding the use of his PDAF allocation. We leave it up to the DOJ to do what is needed regarding such information," he said.

Asked if Villanueva continues to enjoy President Aquino's confidence, Coloma said: "Sa pagkaalam ko po opo."

He noted Villanueva has been transparent about his own records with regards to the transactions in question.

"Ang batid ko lang po batay na rin sa salaysay niya sa akin na binanggit ko kanina, simula noong narinig niya na isinasangkot siya, inilabas na niya lahat ng dokumento patungkol diyan, ano, dahil tapos na yung kanyang termino. Di ba, nag-serve siya hanggang 2010? Natapos na yung termino niya. Nasa kanyang possession naman lahat nung kanyang papeles. Lahat nung mga relative-relevant documents, isinumite na niya sa Department of Justice and he made himself available to all kinds of inquiry or questioning."

"Ibig sabihin, sinasabi niya, 'Wala akong ikunukubli hinggil diyan.' At sa kanyang paninindigan ay walang naganap na anomalya dahil lahat naman nung allocation niya ay nagamit doon sa proyekto. Yan ang kanyang salaysay, at sinabi ko kanina, tungkulin na ngayon ng DOJ na i-verify yung kanyang salaysay at magpasya hinggil doon," Coloma said.