Tables turn on PNoy: The future of the DAP is a political issue rather than a legal issue

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noynoy_aquinoPresident Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III in his usual form again tried to play down the absolute impropriety with which his government is managing the funds associated with his Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) by reportedly pointing out that those who had brought attention to its use were motivated by the flak they’ve been getting as a result of the scandal that originated from traditional pork barrel — the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF)…

At the Presidential Forum of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP), Aquino noted: “Since I am in a room full of journalists, perhaps I can leave it to you to connect the dots: All of these attacks came after plunder cases, among others, that were filed before the Office of the Ombudsman against a few well-known politicians.”

He also noted criticisms then also followed against changes in the Bureau of Customs and the bonuses of the officials of the Social Security System.

In many words, President BS Aquino is implying that the focus of everyone’s attention ought to be on the PDAF scandal mainly and that Malacanang’s use of the DAP should not be made an issue.

But it’s simple, Mister President. If there is a whiff of misuse of the DAP, then that whiff should be investigated as well. Why does it have to be one or the other? Why can’t two investigations — the on-going one on the PDAF plus a new one for the DAP — be run simultaneously? But it is unlikely that an investigation such as that being conducted around the PDAF will be initiated by the Department of Justice considering how adamant President BS Aquino is with regard to its legality…

Aquino, who until recently defended PDAF, said he is perplexed that people equate it with the DAP.

“Simply, it was a program that strategically allocated funds to agencies that had already proven the capacity to implement projects and programs rapidly and efficiently,” he said.

He also defended the legality of the DAP, saying: “The legality of such a process has never been in question. As clearly stated in Executive Order 292, or the Administrative Code of 1987 amongst other laws. It is difficult to fathom how one could equate this program with PDAF.”

But of course. The question President BS Aquino would like to emphasize now is the question of the “legality” of the DAP. Indeed, and to be fair, the “legality” of the DAP remains debatable even though as Dean Tony La Viña observes, “the weight of legal opinion seems to be for its unconstitutionality.”

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago has pointed out that the Constitution “allows fund transfers, only if there are savings, meaning that the project was completed, and yet the appropriation was not exhausted; but there are no savings if a project was merely deferred.” She observed that it appeared that DAP funds were taken from alleged slow-moving projects. “If so, no savings were generated, and therefore DAP is illegal.”

Disagreeing with Santiago, Ateneo Law Professor Mel Sta. Maria, in an opinion piece for the TV5 website, argues that the DAP is nothing else but the disbursement of funds sourced from savings of a particular item to fund a deficit in another item for the purpose of immediately accomplishing a priority activity. This makes the DAP legal and constitutional.

The fact that there is debate about the constitutionality of the DAP means that the matter should be investigated and subject to legal scrutiny regardless of what the President’s amateur legal opinion on that matter might be.

The important irony to note here is that back in 2012, when it came to investigating and prosecuting former Chief Justice Renato Corona, legalities took a back seat to what was touted as the political aspect of the exercise — that his being tried by a Senate court rather than a judicial court justifies political influence on the outcome regardless of the legal soundness of its approach.

Well now, Mr President, it is just as clear today that the fate of the DAP is as political an issue as you made Corona’s fate out to be back in 2012, wouldn’t you think?

Indeed, it is interesting that President BS Aquino now seems to be a stickler for “legalities” now that he is on the other side of the equation — no longer the plaintif, now the accused. Evidently the political aspect of the DAP — and the broader issue of pork — has become more relevant than whether or not it is legal.

Amazing how fast tables turn in Philippine politics.

[Photo courtesy Spin Busters.]
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18 Comments on “Tables turn on PNoy: The future of the DAP is a political issue rather than a legal issue”

  1. If its a political issue, I’d rather have the UN resolve rather than our own country, we already have to many incompetent people here and the likely hood of doing any evidence is slim. Proper investigation by people from a stand point looking at our country would would be best.

  2. @benign0 just so I’m clear… Do the people in the PH generally share the view that “Pnoy is an enemy” instead of “the government is evil Pnoy will fix it”? I’m not in the PH so I can’t really tell. I hope it’s the first one though.

  3. Please do not compare the dictator BS Aquino to a knight in shining armor. He destroyed and corrupted the lower house and the senate. The dictator now controls everything without firing a shot or declaring martial law.

    1. And add to that, her mother is not the mother of democracy, but rather the one who brought back rampant corruption and red tape to the government, the one responsible why this country is in this state of crap. The one who declared outright to the Filipino people that it’s okay to have no discipline and no regard for law and order, termed it as freedom.

  4. The logic employed by Sen. Santiago is asinine X’s 1000, and it is just as such for the ‘esteemed’ lawyer who counters her claims.
    Fast-forwarding to the comment that the guy who runs the country is a legal ‘amatuer’ and the entire article is fraught with idiotic logic that is un-intelligible. Santiago’s claims can not be proven if the projects are not completed, and the guy who says borrowing from Pedro to pay Pablo, is OK? When the gov’t. has expressly said what the funds were for??? and to top it all off…. the guy is a member of the Philippine bar association! He is a lawyer and gets paid to be one, when in the private sector. That is the exact definition of a ‘Professional’ lawyer.

    With people in the highest positions in the country employing ‘analysis’ that amounts to utter ‘asshole logic’ and then the same type of logic is employed by those who claim to ‘see’ what these people are doing, it is no small wonder that the country is just as fucked as fucked can be. WOWO! reading this, and seeing the logic employed by those involved, is beyond painful/absurd. L & G, it is what it is, and it is painful to say it.
    EE GAD MON, the country is fucked!

  5. I just hope you people can prove all these, and go out of your way to do what you think is right, and help in any way you can for the good of the country rather than just sitting and writing and posting comments like this with no actions. i hope everyone who knows what is best for the country will all put their words into actions for the common good. i am always praying for that time to come. God bless you people.

  6. DAP is a management channel to address priority program or projects. To treat it as a technical issue with legal dissonance, cramps the managment flexibility of the Executive to fund priority progams and projects, which need urgent attention with clear beneficial effects to the socio-economy of the country.
    PDAF is completely a different matter in that, any interference from the Legislative after the budget has been approved is definitely contrary to separation of powers of the Legislature and the Executive.
    Supreme Court may allow the DAP, while conceding that project implementation of DAP funded programs and projects are deemed within legal bounds. That will be the task for COA to determine.

  7. We certainly hope to see more comments that help to enlighten and crystalize issues on the table; and will appreciate getting comments that goes beyond “argumentum ad homimen” or personal affront.

  8. Let us not dilute the issue.

    Abnoy and his KKKK crony-friends committed multiple crimes of squandering taxpayers money to demonize people and weaken institutions. He bribed Congress, weaken the judiciary for family vendetta? The timelines of his fascist motives and the testimonies of those who were bribed affirmed that.

    The REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES is not COJUANGCO-AQUINO-LOPEZ KKKK COMPANY LIMITED, and the NATIONAL TREASURY IS NOT THEIR PERSONAL ATM.

    These criminals are bunch of hubris with an ineradicable habit to steal, steal and steal more. How could they harp on “rule of law” as defense is an evil-wicked shield a corrupt prosecutorial criminal system under a lapdog “dilemma of all dilemmas” DELIMA?

  9. Global Financial Integrity – $410 billion tax base is lost smuggling, who are the smugglers, who else Associates and friends of the one who holds the executive power to implement laws, none other logic can defeat that.

    World Bank – Corruption is public enemy number one in the Philippines.

    There is no other culprits. I know who you are thinking.

    You are a party to crime when you allow crimes to thrive by doing nothing. You are obstructing justice. It is either you are friends with them or you are for the government which laws you are mandated to execute.

    Wag na Shang magtago sa kasinungalingan, bistado na ang barkadahan nila.

  10. Check the General Appropriations Acts, from 2010 to 2014, the People spent trillions and trillions of taxpayers money under a bunch of lunatic conspirators who are willing to “be paid” for the MADNESS of malacanang? PURO PROPAGANDA, WALANG PROGRAMA.

    IT IS AS IF ABNOY BECAME PRESIDENT TO PROTECT HIS FAMILY AND FRIENDS , MAKE THEM FILTHY RICH AND POWERFUL, WHILE MAJORITY HUSSLE TO THRIVE UP THE RUNGS OF SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC LADDER.

    MEDYO TAGILID ANG MGA FAKE NGOs NGAYON, DID THEY SHIFT TO SMUGGLING?

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