Palace on the defensive over DAP

Posted at 07/02/2014 1:43 PM
 

MANILA - Is President Aquino risking impeachment for approving the disbursement acceleration program (DAP)?

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda was asked the question after the Supreme Court declared as unconstitutional several acts under DAP.

The spokesman initially asked if he could refrain from comment since he has yet to read the full SC decision.

"It is like asking us to comment on the full movie when we were only able to watch the last 10 seconds of the film," he said.

However, he said that based on the dispositive portion of the SC ruling, "it does not speak of the entire DAP as unconstitutional.'

Lacierda noted that there have been several acts by previous presidents that were also declared as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

"We have several acts that have been declared as unconstitutional, not just in this administration. It never reached the level of impeachability. Why the sudden interest in this act?" he asked.

He also said it is the continued belief of Malacañang that the DAP benefited the people in a number of projects.

In 2011, Aquino introduced the DAP, devised as a means to boost government spending. His critics derided it as a tool to control Congress by buying the loyalty of its members.

Three senators are on trial on charges of misusing a separate congressional fund to channel money back to themselves. Aquino abolished that fund, known as "pork barrel" last year, portraying his action as a key blow in the drive to root out graft.

Theodore Te, a spokesman for the Supreme Court, said certain "acts and practices" under the president's DAP were illegal and unconstitutional. The vote among 13 justices was unanimous.

Te said the government had violated the constitution by allowing practices like cross-border transfers of government savings to increase funds available to other offices. It was also illegal, the court said, for the government to fund projects "not covered by any general appropriation act".

Nearly 158 billion pesos ($3.62 billion) from 2011 to 2013 were disbursed under the president's fund. With Reuters