SC to decide on TRO plea vs DAP today
MANILA, Philippines - Is there a need to stop the Palace from using President Aquino's Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) funds for relief efforts in quake-hit areas?
This is the issue the Supreme Court (SC) will decide in a special session at 10 a.m. today.
Specifically, SC magistrates would deliberate on the urgent motion filed by former Iloilo congressman and former Technical Education and Skills Development Authority chief Augusto Syjuco Jr.
In his motion filed on Monday, Syjuco asked the high court to issue a temporary restraining order enjoining the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) from touching the DAP for purposes of aiding earthquake victims.
“Constitutional doctrines must remain steadfast no matter what may be the tides of time. It cannot be simply made to sway and accommodate the call of situations and much more tailor itself to the whims and caprices of government and the people who run it,” he argued.
Syjuco is among five petitioners who earlier questioned the DAP constitutionality before the high court.
He filed the motion after Budget Secretary Florencio Abad announced that the government intends to use DAP in helping victims of the earthquake as calamity and contingency funds are almost depleted.
Syjuco said the DBM website reveals a remaining P6.95 billion in calamity funds, rebutting Abad’s claim.
In the same pleading, the former lawmaker reiterated that DAP is illegal due to lack of law passed by Congress authorizing its appropriation and release.
The five other petitioners were lawyers Jose Malvar Villegas Jr. and Manuelito Luna, Philippine Constitution Association, Integrated Bar of the Philippines and the Bayan Muna, Kabataan and Gabriela party-list groups.
They argued that the Constitution prohibits transfer of funds between branches of government without necessary law, citing Article XXV Section 24 and Article VI Section 25 of the Constitution in questioning the legality of DAP.
The first provision gives Congress exclusive “power of the purse” while the second requires a law in transferring appropriations from one government branch to another.