Senate summons Abad: Explain DAP

Posted at 07/11/14 1:22 PM

MANILA - The Senate Committee on Finance has summoned Budget Secretary Butch Abad to a public hearing on July 21 to explain the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

Finance committee chairperson Senator Francis Escudero also directed Abad to submit a complete list of the special allotment release orders (SAROs) that were disbursed under the DAP.

"If we want to scrutinize the DAP releases under the guidance of the SC (Supreme Court) decision, we need all the papers that only DBM (Department of Budget and Management) can provide," he said in a statement on Friday.

"We are entering the budget season and on the part of the finance committee, we are carefully studying the court decision to ensure that the next budget we will be crafting and approving will be compliant with the Supreme Court decision on the DAP," he added.

Escudero said he wants Abad to clarify reports that fund releases under the DAP amounted to P372 billion, and not P200 billion as stated by the DBM.

The July 21 hearing will be the continuation of the proceedings by the Senate which were earlier suspended out of courtesy to the SC.

The high court was then deliberating on the legality of DAP.

President Benigno Aquino III on Friday announced that Abad tendered his resignation yesterday. Aquino, however, did not accept it, saying Abad did nothing wrong in implementing the DAP.

In a text message, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said Aquino did "the right thing" in refusing Abad's resignation.

"You don't punish a subordinate for an action that you believe is right and you have adopted yourself," he said.

"From a political perspective, it will cause a PR crisis. Having said this, I would have done the same," Trillanes said.

Senator Grace Poe, meanwhile, said it is the President's exclusive prerogative to accept or not the resignation of a Cabinet member.

She said what is more important now is that Abad explain to the public the disbursements made under the DAP.

"This is the only way the public can be assured and enlightened how the billions in public money were spent consistent with the government's claim of good faith," Poe said. -- With a report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News