Abad stumped: Why does SC presume bad faith?

Posted at 07/24/14 6:17 PM

'To accept SC's DAP ruling is to accept we acted in bad faith'

MANILA - Budget Secretary Butch Abad on Thursday questioned the Supreme Court (SC) for presuming bad faith on the part of the authors and implementors of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) despite its recognition of the benefits the country gained from the economic stimulus program.

During the Senate finance committee hearing on the DAP Thursday, Abad pointed out that the high court, in its decision, invoked the doctrine of operative fact.

This means that the SC spares DAP-funded projects that can no longer be undone from any liability.

"Ang premise niya is maganda naman ang naidulot ng DAP sa ating bansa eh. Sabi nga, it is indisputable; in fact, we cannot count the numerous benefits derived from the DAP," Abad said.

He said it therefore came as a surprise when the SC ruled that the doctrine of operative fact cannot apply to the authors, proponents, and implementors of the DAP.

The SC said the authors, proponents, and implementors of the program would have to prove before the proper tribunals that they acted in good faith.

"Nagtataka nga kami dun sa bandang dulo, there were two paragraphs seemingly out of place. Kasi sinasabi niya: Well, sige, let's apply the doctrine and the presumption of good faith doon sa mga actions, yung mga projects, lalong-lalo na kung natapos na," Abad said.

"Pero in so far as the authors and implementors are concerned, they have to be presumed in bad faith unless they can prove otherwise in criminal, civil, and administrative tribunals. Therefore, they are also presumed criminally, civilly, and administratively liable."

"So yun ang hindi namin maintindihan," he added.

According to the budget chief, to accept the ruling of the Supreme Court is to also accept that they acted in bad faith in implementing the DAP.

That is one of the reasons why Malacañang, through the Office of the Solicitor General, filed a motion for reconsideration of the high court's ruling on the DAP, he said.