'DAP a toxic golden pig'
Philconsa, Diokno, Briones urge SC to declare DAP unconstitutional
MANILA - Former Budget chief Benjamin Diokno and former National Treasurer Leonor Briones have joined the call for the nullity of the Aquino government's controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) before the Supreme Court (SC).
In a 19-page petition for certiorari, Diokno and Briones, representing the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa), urged the high court to declare the DAP as unconstitutional, and in the meantime, issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) or writ of preliminary injunction to prevent the further disbursement of public funds under the program.
Labelling the DAP as the "toxic golden pig (TGP), petitioners accused the Aquino government of acting with grave abuse of discretion, and culpable violations of the Constitution and penal laws, when it created the DAP.
"The DAP is veiled and implemented as a law...The DAP is the classic anathema to the constitutional mandate, 'No money shall be paid out of the treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation made by law (Sec. 29, Art VI of the Constitution.
"In keeping with its mission to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, Philconsa respecfully submits this petition with the Supreme Court to reiterate and fortify the majesty of the Constitution the imperative duty to obey and observe it for the good of our country and our people," the petition read.
Petitioners stressed that the Aquino government illegally disbursed public funds under the DAP in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
As of Oct. 1, 2013, P137.3 billion had already been released by Malacanan under the DAP, which was created in 2011.
In defending the DAP, Malacanan said the President is allowed by law to appropriate funds derived from savings to priority projects.
However, petitioners pointed out that what the Constitution provides is the augmentation of "any item in the general appropriations law for their respective offices from savings in other items of their respective appropriations."
The petitioners also stressed that the DAP was nowhere in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2011, 2012, and 2013.
"DAP is an invisible thing or item in the GAAs. It can only be seen, used and disbursed by the 'close-in' officials of respondents (Department of Budget and Management, Budget Secretary Butch Abad)...what, when, where and how to operate and manipulate the same," the petition read.
Petitioners also urged the high court to:
direct all recipients of the DAP funds to return the balance of unspent funds to the national treasury;
direct the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and/or the Philippine National Police (PNP) to seize the funds, assets or properties acquired through the DAP funds and turn them over to the national treasury; and, order the NBI and Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to file the necessary charges against those who established the DAP and participated in the release of DAP funds.
Philconsa's petition is the 4th filed with the high court against the DAP.
Oral arguments are scheduled on these petitions on Oct. 22.