Political harassment, says Acosta on warrant of arrest in relation to perjury case

January 29, 2013 11:22 pm 

By Lilybeth G. Ison

MANILA, Jan. 29 — Presidential Adviser on Environmental Protection and concurrent Laguna Lake Development Authority chair Nereus Acosta said the warrant of arrest against him in connection with a perjury case filed 12 years ago before the Office of the Ombudsman was purely a "political harassment."

"It is with disbelief that a perjury case was filed against me even if the complainant has already desisted. I can only surmise that the warrant of arrest issued in relation to this case is political harassment and is motivated by vested interests," said Acosta in a statement emailed to the Philippines News Agency Tuesday.

Acosta said that even if he is a member of the Cabinet of the present administration, "the law must prevail," and that "no one, especially a member of President (Benigno) Aquino (III) family, is above the law."

"I intend to follow the Sandiganbayan and any court of the land. Let the law take its proper course and I intend to exhaust all legal means to put this matter to rest," he said.

Acosta said that even during the past several years, "my family and I have been subjected to an array of attacks not just legally but in media as well."

He said the relentless and systematic "acts of demolition" against him and his family "can only be attributed to concerted and well-funded machinations of powerful individuals and groups that have been discomforted, to say the least, by my advocacies and programs to protect the environment."

Acosta, however, assured that he will not allow his work as environment czar to be derailed by this case "and by other tactics that my detractors may further employ."

"We have all been witness to the wide scale destruction brought about by climate change and natural disasters. The Aquino administration’s environmental programs should not be hampered by the manipulation of these vested interest groups," he stressed.

"Laguna de Bay, a vital source of food and water, is in a state of disrepair. We do not have the luxury of time and I will not allow public interest and the welfare of the majority to be sacrificed because of the greed and manipulation of a few," he added.

Acosta said the conservation of nature has been his lifelong passion, "and if the price for my ideals and advocacies is my freedom, so be it. For in the end, it is always the truth that shall set us free."

The Sandiganbayan last week issued an arrest warrant against Acosta and his mother, Soccorro in connection with the case of perjury filed in November 2012 by the Office of the Ombudsman.

The case stemmed from Acosta's alleged irregular use of his P5.5 million Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), which he allegedly channeled to the Bukidnon Vegetable Producers Cooperative, a private group controlled by the former congressman's family, while he was sitting as representative of Bukidnon province in the House of Representatives. (PNA)

HBC/LGI

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