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Philippine president Aquino keeps budget chief amid corruption scandal

Published on Jul 11, 2014 3:05 PM
 
Philippine President Benigno Aquino speaks during a joint press statement with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (not in picture) at the Malacanang Palace in Manila on May 23, 2014. Mr Aquino on Friday rejected a resignation offer from his budget secretary after the top court declared the government's discretionary fund illegal in the biggest test yet for its battle against graft. -- PHOTO: AFP

MANILA (REUTERS) - Philippine President Benigno Aquino on Friday rejected a resignation offer from his budget secretary after the top court declared the government's discretionary fund illegal in the biggest test yet for its battle against graft.

Aquino, the only son of democracy icon and former president Corazon Aquino, took power in 2010 on the promise of transparency, good governance and battling corruption to lift the Philippines from poverty. But he has struggled to shed the country's image as one of the most corrupt in Asia as he continues to defend his allies while chasing down politicians, bureaucrats and generals associated with the past administration.

On Thursday, Florencio "Butch" Abad handed his resignation letter to Aquino to save the government from growing criticism over the use of 150 billion pesos (S$4.29 billion) in discretionary funds from 2011 to 2013.

"I have decided not to accept his resignation," Aquino told a Cabinet meeting during the annual budget presentation. "To accept his resignation is to assign to him a wrong and I cannot accept the notion that doing right by our people is a wrong."

 
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