Randy David: PNoy failed to answer questions on DAP
MANILA -- After President Aquino's national address Wednesday night, columnist and sociologist Randy David believes that the President failed to answer nagging questions about the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
David, Pulse Asia senior research fellow Ana Maria Tabunda, and Transparency and Accountability Network's Vince Lazatin expressed their opinion on what the president said in his address on ANC Prime Time after the President's speech.
David believes that the Filipinos do not oppose the DAP. However, it has become tainted, as a certain percentage of it had to be coursed through lawmakers.
"The question remains: why do you have to course through a certain percentage of the savings to lawmakers?" David asked.
He explained that the President failed to justify the 9% of the DAP that was treated like pork barrel.
"I think there is no question that Project Noah is good, that coursing through funds to TESDA is good, but that's not what the people are questioning," he said.
David believes that the president played it safe when he said that "they" are not thieves.
"He said hindi kami nagnakaw. When I was hearing that, I wondered, who is 'we'? Does that refer to him, his cabinet, or does that include members of the Liberal Party? Aren't political allies excluded from the charges? Are some political allies going to be charged in the future?"
"If it is an issue of the president stealing from the people, he does not have to defend himself. Filipinos concede that we have an honest president, for once," said David.
Before the President's speech was announced, Pulse Asia released the results of its latest survey showing that more Filipinos are unhappy about the government's anti-corruption campaign.
Tabunda said issue of DAP was not included in the survey, and people responded to questions based on what they know about the program.
Lazatin said it all boils down to whether the President is willing to press charges against his allies.
"To press charges against opposition members is kind of easy but to allow your own people to be brought to the bar of justice is what will separate him, if at all, from his predecessors," he said.
Tabunda said Aquino's address is aimed at making citizens differentiate pork barrel from the DAP.
"DAP may harder for the public to grasp. Unlike PDAF, where there are personalities, there are no personalities involved [in DAP] and it raises constitutionality issues," she added.
She also explained that the surveys show that the people understand the pork barrel, and that they know that it doesn't go where it should go.
"But what their thoughts on DAP are, that we haven't figured out yet and that's a little harder for them to grasp," Tabunda added.
Tabunda, Lazatin, and David believe that it is right that Phe president is responding to issues, especially since the administration banks on its reputation of being anti-corruption.
"I think it's important for them to realize that the Napoles scandal did not hit the media because of any initiative on the part of any government agency. This was because of the whistle blowers, the investigative bent of mass media," David said.
They also agreed that although surveys are not enough to push the President to revamp his Cabinet or make major changes, media and the Internet have played a big role in the issue.
"In this case, I think the media has done very well in bringing this [issue] to public consciousness," David said. - with ANC