Palace skirts word war with Joker Arroyo

Posted at 07/07/14 4:54 PM

MANILA - The spokesman of President Aquino refused to engage in a word war with former Senator Joker Arroyo after the latter described President Aquino an "evil genius" for approving the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

Secretary Edwin Lacierda said: "With all due respect to Senator Arroyo, we do not wish to dignify comments from Senator Arroyo."

Asked if President Aquino will defend the benefits of the DAP in his coming State of the Nation Address, Lacierda said: "Let's just wait for the—what the President will deliver in SONA. The President will choose to say what he wants to say in SONA. So let’s just wait for the SONA."

Former Senator Arroyo earlier described President Aquino as an "evil genius" for using the Administrative Code of 1987 as his legal basis for authorizing the utilization of around P147 billion in government savings under the DAP.

Arroyo is wondering why Aquino used the administrative code signed by his mother, former President Corazon Aquino, in justifying the DAP, which was struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court last week.

“Cory signed it in 1987 and yet up to the end of her term in 1992, she never used it. The question now lies, why PNoy used it 25 years after it was signed?” he said.

Arroyo also likened the President to the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos regarding the manner of disbursing public funds. Marcos used the 1918 Administrative Code as basis for his control over government funds during his time.

Lacierda, however, defended the invocation of the Administrative Code.

"I suppose you should ask Senator Arroyo because that was... The fact that one uses the law or not should not be a basis for bewilderment. There's a law that has not been declared invalid as of this—up 'til this point. It is still constitutional. It's still legal.

"Nobody has questioned the Revised Administrative Code of 1987. So—and it has been used as a basis for the continuing authority of past presidents to reorganize the executive department. So that question should not be asked from us. That question should be answered by Senator Arroyo himself," he said. -- With a report by The Philippine Star