PNoy is like Cookie Monster, says party-list rep
Makabayan eyes PNoy impeachment over DAP
MANILA - A party-list lawmaker described the Aquino administration as a "pork barrel monster," much like Sesame Street's Cookie Monster.
"Kung may Cookie Monster na kumakain ng cookie, Malacañang has become a Pork Barrel Monster, it refuses to let go of its own pork barrel," said Gabriela party-list Rep. Luz Ilagan
The Makabayan bloc on Monday said it is now studying President Aquino's impeachment over the Dibusrement Acceleration Program (DAP), which they slammed as illegal and unconstitutional.
ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio said the President must be held accountable for the DAP. He said a Supreme Court declaration of the DAP as unconstitutional may hasten things.
"Kailangan panagutin ang Presidente. The President has committed unconstitutional and illegal acts with DAP," he said.
"May culpable violation of Constitution kung sakali pero di tayo mag-aabang dun kaya may sariling initiative sa Kongreso," he added.
At least 4 petitions are pending before the high court assailing the constitutionality of the DAP, which was where the administration sourced funds allegedly given to some lawmakers after the impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Under the 1987 Constitution, an impeachment complaint may be filed against the President by any congressman or a private citizen with the endorsement of any congressman.
Tinio scored the Palace for its continued defense of the DAP. This, he said, is obvious when Aquino was asked what he will do with the scholars who were affected by the suspension of PDAF releases.
"Sabi ng President inatasan si [Budget Secretary Butch] Abad na humanap ng savings para mapondohan. DAP pa rin ang gagamitin para mapunuan pangangailangan para suportahan PDAF scholars. Nagmamatigas Pangulo na ipagpatuloy na iligal na aksyon," he said.
Tinio added that the DAP shows that even if the PDAF, special purpose funds and other lump sums are abolished, the President can always create new pork barrel.
"Sa budget implementation stage sa pag exercise ng Presidente ng impoundment at realignment, nakakalikha ng presidential pork. Di sapat tanggalan ng lump sums. Kailangan maglagay ng paglimit sa powers ng Presidente to impound and realign funds," he said.
Not moving yet
The Makabayan bloc, meanwhile, said it won't take the lead just yet in a possible impeachment move.
Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said that while use of the DAP may be impeachable, the move still needs further study.
"Impeachment is a serious matter, di lang legal kundi political. Dapat aralin kung may ganyang complaints. Isa ito sa mga aaralin, di lang ng Makabayan bloc maraming nag-aaral dito. Kung it rises to culpable violation of Constitution or betrayal of public trust," he said.
The bloc also kept its distance from reports that lawyer Oliver Lozano has filed his own impeachment complaint.
"Wala kaming alam kay Lozano. Sa House, karanasan namin kay Atty. Lozano his complaints lack legal and constitutional substance for credible complaint," Colmenares said.
Why DAP is illegal
In a press conference Monday, the Makabayan bloc again slammed the DAP as illegal and unconstitutional.
Colmenares said the DAP was created from DBM Circular 541. DBM Circular 541 impounds the budgets of agencies who fail to implement their projects midyear for realignment to other agencies with better implementation of projects.
"Sa tingin namin, pagcentralize ng pondo sa [General Appropriations Act] transformed funds into pork barrel and DAP is the worst form of presidential pork barrel," he said.
Colmenares argued that savings cannot be determined midyear, since the Congress intended for those funds to be available for the whole year.
Secondly, he said that under the Administrative Code, savings should be generated from efficiencies from projects already completed--as is the case if a project is completed at a cheaper cost.
Colmenares pointed out that instead, the government has been underutilizing funds from projects it did not push through.
The lawmaker said the power to realign savings only allows the President to realign to items already provided for in the budget law.
"Klaro sa Constitution - no law shall be passed realigning funds to items not appropriated by law. The DBM circular cannot trump GAA and Constitution. Illegal and unconstitutional ang DAP at 541 at dapat ibasura ng Kongreso together with impoundment provision before it approved budget on 3rd reading," he said.
Meantime, House of Representatives Appropriations Chair Isidro Ungab said the proposed 2014 GAA will be approved on 3rd reading next week.
"October 21 is the target date to pass the GAA 2014 on its 3rd and final reading," he said.