Lawmaker sees 'fatal' admission in DAP debates

Posted at 01/29/14 4:15 PM

MANILA - Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares does not see the Supreme Court dismissing petitions assailing the legality and constitutionality of the Aquino administration's lump sum Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

The DAP has been derided by government critics as a form of presidential pork barrel.

Colmenares, a petitioner in the case now being deliberated by the Supreme Court, said Malacañang has abandoned its main arguments in favor of DAP: that it is needed to stimulate the economy and that it is legal and constitutional.

He pointed out that in the oral arguments, the government said the DAP has been stopped and that any petition questioning is legality is moot and academic.

"Sabi nila wala nang DAP. Di na kailangan. …very crucial and fatal yung admission na yan. I don't think the SC will dismiss it. We don't know if it was abandoned. It's so untransparent, we don't even know if this is the only DAP-funded project.. I don't think (SC) will dismiss the petition. Sabi nila circular 541 isn't DAP. It's just a plan, a program. The fact you withdrew the circular doesn't mean DAP is abolished. It can be resurrected anytime. They could have renamed it some other way," he said.

ACT Teachers party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio said the government acted in bad faith when it sought to delay the oral arguments.

"Ang defense pala is simply - wala na po iyan, moot and academic na ito. Nilalaro lang ang korte at publiko ng Malacañang sa napili niyang linya ng depensa," Tinio said.

Colmenares said another act of bad faith on the part of the government was when it fought off their plea for a temporary restraining order (TRO).

"Ngayon sasabihin nila matagal nang wala. Nilabanan nila ang TRO sa DAP. Mayroong DAP. It is not completely true pag sinabi walang DAP. Otherwise, di nila nilabanan ang TRO. Tingin namin, di basta mapapaniwala ang SC," he said.

House Minority Leader Ronaldo Zamora again reiterated the minority bloc's concerns about the DAP.

"The whole idea of renaming programs and projects in the budget, calling them various names and ending up with kind of nontransparent, non-accountable forms, that projects have ended up as savings…Because of savings the executive has taken the line that savings belong to them for them to dispose of. That's what we've been consistently against. How we plan to use these savings, that's what I think should be left to legislature. The power of the purse is supposed to be with legislature," he said.