DBM: 4 SENATORS GOT BIGGEST 'PORK' IN 2013

JUNE 17  -Senators Miriam Defensor Santiago, Edgardo Angara, Manuel "Lito" Lapid and Vicente "Tito" Sotto III led the Department of Budget and Management's (DBM) record of Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) or "pork barrel" releases in 2013. The DBM, which made the records public on Tuesday, indicated that P100 million was appropriated to each of the four senators prior to the Supreme Court's ruling, halting the issuance of pork barrel. Most of the releases were also made before the May 2013 mid-term elections. The agency also released P99.75 million for the projects of Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan and P98.5 million for Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero. Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, who now faces plunder charges for the pork barrel fund scam between 2007 and 2009, also received P95.5 million from the DBM last year. Co-accused Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile was appropriated P75 million. Sen. Ramon "Bong" Revilla, who is also charged with plunder, is not on the list. The complete list is shown below: FULL STORY BELOW.....

ALSO: ‘PDAF declared unconstitutional’

NOVEMBER 20, 2013  --The Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), widely reviled as a source of corruption among politicians and officials, was declared unconstitutional yesterday by the Supreme Court (SC). The ruling comes as Congress ponders tapping the unused PDAF for this year to boost funds for humanitarian and rehabilitation efforts in areas in the Visayas ravaged by Super Typhoon Yolanda and the 7.2 magnitude earthquake. PDAF is the official name of the congressional pork barrel. The ruling also came amid public outrage over allegations that some politicians had embezzled the fund through dubious non-government organizations linked to businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles. After the controversy erupted, President Aquino ordered the abolition of PDAF in its present form. In its ruling penned by Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe, the SC voided PDAF and all its previous forms, including the earlier countrywide development fund. The high tribunal also ruled yesterday that the Malampaya Fund should be used exclusively for energy related projects and not “for such other purposes as may be hereafter directed by the President.” Voting unanimously, the magistrates decided to stop the government from disbursing or releasing what remains of the P24.79-billion PDAF for this year. The SC also directed prosecutorial agencies like the Department of Justice and the Office of the Ombudsman to “investigate and prosecute all government officials and/or private individuals for possible criminal offenses related to the irregular, improper and/or unlawful disbursement of all funds under the pork barrel system.” The high tribunal held that PDAF and previous pork barrel funds violated the constitutional principle of separation of powers of the executive and legislative branches as it “allowed legislators to wield, in varying gradations, non-oversight, post-enactment authority in vital areas of budget executions.” READ MORE...

ALSO: Aquino rushes to Manila after PDAF declared unconstitutional

NOVEMBER 20, 2013 --President Benigno Aquino III immediately flew back to Manila on Tuesday, contrary to what he declared that he will be staying in Visayas until he is satisfied with the relief and rehabilitation efforts after typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) struck there. Aboard a private plane, Aquino left Tacloban City at 3:30 p.m. And the reason for his immediate return? The Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of the government was declared by the Supreme Court as ‘unconstitutional.’ Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said that the President would attend a special meeting and admitted that it has something to do with the PDAF. The President has not yet read the SC decision, Roxas said. “Let us give the President the chance to read first the decision to be able to address concerns properly.” Meanwhile, the Malacañang Palace insisted that Aquino will attend a special meeting to discuss the 2014 national budget. According to reports, Aquino will monitor the polishing of the proposed budget to ensure that there would be budget for the recovery efforts for the victims of Yolanda. Apart from this, the Palace said that the President will meet with National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) board officers.THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

ALSO: PDAF more than doubled under Aquino

AUGUST 28, 2013  --When the alleged pork barrel scam broke out, President Benigno Aquino III did not address it – did not mention it at all – in his State of the Nation Address. When various sectors called for congressional investigations into the anomaly, he finally made known his stand: the pork barrel will stay. In fact, the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), the discretionary allocation for senators and congressmen, more than doubled under the Aquino administration, from what his predecessor Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo allocated. Before Arroyo stepped down, the last PDAF allocated was for the year 2010, at P10.86 billion. When the Aquino administration passed its first budget, for 2011, the allocation skyrocketed to P24.62 billion. The increase in the PDAF allocation during the Aquino administration resulted from the consolidation of the "hard" and "soft" projects of the pork barrel. In the past, "hard" projects are allocated under various local infrastructure project (VLIP) and reflected as part of the DPWH budget. Back then, Aquino justified this action, saying that when used equally across the regions, "the pork barrel can be an equalizer to the local government units." Aquino could be referring to the practice during Arroyo's time, where a few favored lawmakers, aside from getting their PDAF, were allowed to make additional budget insertions. In effect, the Aquino administration claimed, they took those selective insertions out and added them to the PDAF allocation and distributed them to all lawmakers. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

(ALSO) Commentary: Unconstitutionality of PDAF and Malampaya Funds: The Tough Next Steps

NOVEMBER 19, 2013  --The Supreme Court of the Philippines has ruled 14-0 that the PDAF is unconstitutional and has tasked the prosecutorial organs of government to run after the plunderers. This is going to be a humongous monumental task if we are to set things right. I can’t help but remain skeptical on how this will be enforced at the national level considering that the very institutions tasked to impeach a president for violating the constitution are themselves complicit on trampling the constitution. This ain’t exactly Corona we are talking about here you know. If you recall how Aquino’s allies in the Congress and Senate railroaded the Corona impeachment in haste and record time, expect that these same institutions will belly ache, come up with alibis on why Aquino will not be impeach. Then there is the awful realization that the LGU officials are as complicit as Aquino as all of them have at one point or another, took part in looting the pork barrel – or worse, having their own COA-exempt discretionary funds (as above, so below). Indeed our local government units function as microcosms of the systemic plunder that has been going for so long in the national capital. Even as we speak, Frank Drilon is already talking about the changes that will be made and the need to pass a supplemental budget. Mr Drilon – you don’t get it do you? This is not about budgets anymore – this is about the willful culpable violation of the constitution – a constitution that you swore to uphold. But it’s not surprising that you will treat the constitution as if it were a piece of paper that you wiped your ass with. After all, you never represented the people in the first place. What am saying is that YOU stole the elections. Given the non-compliance of the COMELEC with the automated election law – the inconvenient truth which Ambassador Thomas had to put under the rug is the fact that the Philippines does not have a de jure government. For short, we have a group of thugs and criminals who have usurped the function of government and act as if they were legitimately put in power. Perhaps, you got away with this because the Filipino people thought – the same shit is gonna happen anyways even if we have a de jure government. The problem with that thinking is that it has led us to a slippery slope that takes us to where we are today. This clique of people who claim to be the government have not represented the interests of the people of the Philippines since Day 1 – never have, never been, and never will. And so as we face the the reality that we, the Filipino people, have let crooks get away with plunder and murder – we also owe it to ourselves, our children and future generations of Filipinos to make things right so we can heal our land. READ MORE...

ALSO: SC to declare DAP unconstitutional

june 15, 2014  THE Supreme Court (SC) is set to declare the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) as unconstitutional. According to an unimpeachable source of The Manila Times, an overwhelming majority of SC justices are inclined to rule that President Benigno Aquino 3rd and Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad violated the Constitution when they created and implemented the DAP, which was touted as the President’s own “pork barrel.” The magistrates held a “soft voting” on the issue on Tuesday last week and the en banc agreed in principle that DAP is unconstitutional because funds were transferred from one branch of government to another. The Times source said at least nine out of the 13 justices manifested their intention to declare DAP illegal. “A consensus was already made by the justice—DAP is unconstitutional. Two violations were committed by [the President] and Abad: first, there are no savings to begin with and second, if there are such savings, [the] cross-border of money savings is not allowed,” the source at the High Court said. The source noted that a draft of the tribunal’s decision written by Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin has been circulated among the justices, as well as the separate concurring and dissenting opinions of the other magistrates. The SC, however, will officially hand down its ruling on DAP in the first week of July since the justices have until June 25 to submit the final draft of their separate opinions. These opinions shall be considered and deliberated upon during their final voting on July 1. According to The Times source, the separate opinions of Justices Antonio Carpio, Arturo Brion, Mariano del Castillo, Marvic Leonen and Estela Perlas-Bernabe have been circulated among the other justices. One justice was of the opinion that DAP is “not unconstitutional” while another maintained that the program’s creation was legal for it is within the powers of the President as head of government and not just the executive branch. Carpio circulated his draft opinion in April when the court held its summer session in Baguio City. Brion also circulated his draft opinion on the contending issues.READ MORE...


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DBM: 4 senators got biggest 'pork' in 2013


Composite photos of senators Miriam Santiago, Lito Lapid, Tito Sotto and former Sen. Edgardo Angara. Senate PRIB

MANILA, JUNE 23, 2014 (PHILSTAR) By Camille Diola — Senators Miriam Defensor Santiago, Edgardo Angara, Manuel "Lito" Lapid and Vicente "Tito" Sotto III led the Department of Budget and Management's (DBM) record of Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) or "pork barrel" releases in 2013.

The DBM, which made the records public on Tuesday, indicated that P100 million was appropriated to each of the four senators prior to the Supreme Court's ruling, halting the issuance of pork barrel.

Most of the releases were also made before the May 2013 mid-term elections.

The agency also released P99.75 million for the projects of Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan and P98.5 million for Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero.

Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, who now faces plunder charges for the pork barrel fund scam between 2007 and 2009, also received P95.5 million from the DBM last year. Co-accused Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile was appropriated P75 million.

Sen. Ramon "Bong" Revilla, who is also charged with plunder, is not on the list.

The complete list is shown below:


A bulk of Angara's PDAF was assigned to road repair projects in Laguna for P50 million and to a flood control project in Albay worth P25 million.

Infrastructure projects were also the main recipients of Santiago's PDAF allocations, most of which were released to Batangas and La Union.

Sotto, meanwhile, gave majority of his PDAF to public hospitals and local government units for medical assistance to poor patients. He also listed Pampanga, Albay, Bulacan and Quezon City as beneficiaries of construction projects funded by his "pork barrel."

Lapid's PDAF is listed to have assisted health programs and patients in Zambales, Batangas, Zamboanga del Sur, Quezon, Aurora, Pangasinan and Camarines Sur. He also requested part of his "pork" to be alloted for road and school construction and rehabilitation in other provinces.

Pangilinan's funds went to livelihood projects, road improvement, school construction and scholarship programs in Rizal, Batangas, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and Albay as well as parts of Metro Manila.

Escudero distributed his PDAF to health, infrastructure and social service projects in the Metro Manila, majority of which implemented by the offices of the Department of Health, Department of Finance and the Department of Public Works and Highways.

At the bottom of the list are Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III who was appropriated with only P2.5 million, and Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano whose projects received P48 million.

RELATED NEWS -NOVEMBER 20, 2013

‘PDAF unconstitutional’ By Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 20, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), widely reviled as a source of corruption among politicians and officials, was declared unconstitutional yesterday by the Supreme Court (SC).

The ruling comes as Congress ponders tapping the unused PDAF for this year to boost funds for humanitarian and rehabilitation efforts in areas in the Visayas ravaged by Super Typhoon Yolanda and the 7.2 magnitude earthquake. PDAF is the official name of the congressional pork barrel.

The ruling also came amid public outrage over allegations that some politicians had embezzled the fund through dubious non-government organizations linked to businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.

After the controversy erupted, President Aquino ordered the abolition of PDAF in its present form.

In its ruling penned by Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe, the SC voided PDAF and all its previous forms, including the earlier countrywide development fund.

The high tribunal also ruled yesterday that the Malampaya Fund should be used exclusively for energy related projects and not “for such other purposes as may be hereafter directed by the President.”

Voting unanimously, the magistrates decided to stop the government from disbursing or releasing what remains of the P24.79-billion PDAF for this year.

The SC also directed prosecutorial agencies like the Department of Justice and the Office of the Ombudsman to “investigate and prosecute all government officials and/or private individuals for possible criminal offenses related to the irregular, improper and/or unlawful disbursement of all funds under the pork barrel system.”

The high tribunal held that PDAF and previous pork barrel funds violated the constitutional principle of separation of powers of the executive and legislative branches as it “allowed legislators to wield, in varying gradations, non-oversight, post-enactment authority in vital areas of budget executions.”

The high court also ruled that the pork barrel system violated the constitutional principle of “non-delegability of legislative power” by allowing lawmakers to fund specific projects they themselves determine.

The pork barrel system as well as congressional insertions in the national budget also denied the President the power to veto items, the SC explained.

The high court also ruled that PDAF “impaired public accountability” and “subverted genuine local autonomy.”

The SC specifically thumbed down the practice in the pork barrel system of allowing lawmakers “to intervene, assume or participate in any of the various post-enactment stages of the budget execution, such as but not limited to the areas of project identification, modification and revision of project identification, fund release and/or fund realignment unrelated to the power of congressional oversight.”

The provisions allowing personal, lump sum allocations to legislators from which they draw funds for specific projects that they themselves have determined were also declared illegal by the high court.

The high tribunal rejected the argument presented by Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza last Oct. 8 and 10 that the SC had upheld the constitutionality of the pork barrel system in previous cases like LAMP vs. DBM.

It also rejected Jardeleza’s position that the issue on PDAF should be best settled through a “political solution.”

The high tribunal also declared unconstitutional section 8 of Presidential Decree No. 910 allowing the President to use the Malampaya Fund in projects not related to energy.

Established in 1976, the Malampaya Fund is generated from royalties from oil and gas finds in the country.

The fund is supposedly for financing “energy resource development and exploitation programs and projects of the government.”

But portions of the fund allegedly had been used for ghost projects.

The SC also voided section 12 of Presidential Decree No. 1869, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1993, which allows the use of the Presidential Social Fund (PSF) “to finance the priority infrastructure development projects.”

The SC ruled that the two provisions violated the principle of “non-delegability” of legislative power since they allowed the use of the Malampaya Fund and the PSF for other purposes.

In a press conference, SC spokesman Theodore Te clarified that only PDAF funds would be returned to the national coffers. He said the Malampaya Fund and the PSF “shall remain therein to be utilized for their respective special purposes.”

This ruling was approved by 14 magistrates led by Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, an appointee of President Aquino. Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr. inhibited since his son Lord Allan is an elected representative of Marinduque.

In its decision, the SC was upholding the petitions filed by losing senatorial candidates Greco Belgica and Samson Alcantara and former Boac, Marinduque mayor Pedrito Nepomuceno.

DAP next

The Supreme Court (SC) also began scrutinizing the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) of President Aquino after striking down PDAF.

In oral arguments, the magistrates of the high court zeroed in on the nature of DAP – whether it’s savings or a fund.

Counsels for the nine petitioners against DAP argued that the funding scheme cannot be considered as “saving.”

One of them, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate stressed that the sources of DAP funds – including unused appropriations in the General Appropriations Act, abandoned projects and sale of government assets – were definitely not savings.

He told the high court that DAP is “presidential pork”and a form of “budgetary dictatorship.”

“The only power of the President is to spend, not to allocate or transfer funds,” he pointed out.

During interpellation, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio asked if DAP had the written approval of the President.

“In 2011, there was no written authorization for the DAP. But they said they realized savings. DBM (Department of Budget and Management) realigned, but we have not seen a prior approval of the President, correct?” he asked, to which Rep. Zarate agreed.

Carpio said Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, who was in the hearing as resource person, continued to realign funds this year even without written approval from the President.

“The General Appropriations Acts must be precise… DAP projects were not authorized by Congress… It [provides] flexibility to the President to indiscriminately transfer funds,” Zarate argued.

Another counsel for petitioners, Philippine Constitution Association chair Manuel Lazaro, agreed. He said “the power to appropriate lies (with) Congress, not (with) the DBM.”

“The creation and implementation of the DAP… is not only unconstitutional and illegal but it is also vitiated with grave abuse of discretion,” he stressed.

DAP was presented as a discretionary lump sum under the executive department, said another counsel, Roger Rayel.

RELATED NEWS FROM DZRH NEWS  -NOVEMBER 20, 2013

Aquino rushes to Manila after PDAF declared unconstitutional November 20, 2013 9:56 AM


President Aquino President Benigno Aquino III & Exec Secretary Paquito Ocoa

President Benigno Aquino III immediately flew back to Manila on Tuesday, contrary to what he declared that he will be staying in Visayas until he is satisfied with the relief and rehabilitation efforts after typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) struck there.

Aboard a private plane, Aquino left Tacloban City at 3:30 p.m.

And the reason for his immediate return? The Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of the government was declared by the Supreme Court as ‘unconstitutional.’

Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said that the President would attend a special meeting and admitted that it has something to do with the PDAF.

The President has not yet read the SC decision, Roxas said.

“Let us give the President the chance to read first the decision to be able to address concerns properly.”

Meanwhile, the Malacañang Palace insisted that Aquino will attend a special meeting to discuss the 2014 national budget.

According to reports, Aquino will monitor the polishing of the proposed budget to ensure that there would be budget for the recovery efforts for the victims of Yolanda.

Apart from this, the Palace said that the President will meet with National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) board officers.

FROM THE RAPPLER - AUGUST 25, 2013

PDAF more than doubled under Aquino BY RAISA MARIELLE SERAFICA
POSTED ON 08/25/2013 7:56 AM | UPDATED 08/28/2013 4:19 PM



MANILA, Philippines (RAPPLER.COM UPDATED)– When the alleged pork barrel scam broke out, President Benigno Aquino III did not address it – did not mention it at all – in his State of the Nation Address. When various sectors called for congressional investigations into the anomaly, he finally made known his stand: the pork barrel will stay.

In fact, the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), the discretionary allocation for senators and congressmen, more than doubled under the Aquino administration, from what his predecessor Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo allocated.

Before Arroyo stepped down, the last PDAF allocated was for the year 2010, at P10.86 billion. When the Aquino administration passed its first budget, for 2011, the allocation skyrocketed to P24.62 billion.

The increase in the PDAF allocation during the Aquino administration resulted from the consolidation of the "hard" and "soft" projects of the pork barrel. In the past, "hard" projects are allocated under various local infrastructure project (VLIP) and reflected as part of the DPWH budget.

Back then, Aquino justified this action, saying that when used equally across the regions, "the pork barrel can be an equalizer to the local government units."

Aquino could be referring to the practice during Arroyo's time, where a few favored lawmakers, aside from getting their PDAF, were allowed to make additional budget insertions. In effect, the Aquino administration claimed, they took those selective insertions out and added them to the PDAF allocation and distributed them to all lawmakers.

COMMENTARY FROM THE 'WHO IS THE ANTI-PINOY' BLOG

Unconstitutionality of PDAF and Malampaya Funds: The Tough Next Steps Posted by Warlito Vicente on Nov 19, 2013 in Featured, Government | 1 comment


The Supreme Court of the Philippines has ruled 14-0 that the PDAF is unconstitutional and has tasked the prosecutorial organs of government to run after the plunderers. This is going to be a humongous monumental task if we are to set things right.

I can’t help but remain skeptical on how this will be enforced at the national level considering that the very institutions tasked to impeach a president for violating the constitution are themselves complicit on trampling the constitution. This ain’t exactly Corona we are talking about here you know. If you recall how Aquino’s allies in the Congress and Senate railroaded the Corona impeachment in haste and record time, expect that these same institutions will belly ache, come up with alibis on why Aquino will not be impeach.

Then there is the awful realization that the LGU officials are as complicit as Aquino as all of them have at one point or another, took part in looting the pork barrel – or worse, having their own COA-exempt discretionary funds (as above, so below). Indeed our local government units function as microcosms of the systemic plunder that has been going for so long in the national capital.

Even as we speak, Frank Drilon is already talking about the changes that will be made and the need to pass a supplemental budget. Mr Drilon – you don’t get it do you? This is not about budgets anymore – this is about the willful culpable violation of the constitution – a constitution that you swore to uphold.

But it’s not surprising that you will treat the constitution as if it were a piece of paper that you wiped your ass with. After all, you never represented the people in the first place. What am saying is that YOU stole the elections. Given the non-compliance of the COMELEC with the automated election law – the inconvenient truth which Ambassador Thomas had to put under the rug is the fact that the Philippines does not have a de jure government. For short, we have a group of thugs and criminals who have usurped the function of government and act as if they were legitimately put in power.

Perhaps, you got away with this because the Filipino people thought – the same shit is gonna happen anyways even if we have a de jure government. The problem with that thinking is that it has led us to a slippery slope that takes us to where we are today. This clique of people who claim to be the government have not represented the interests of the people of the Philippines since Day 1 – never have, never been, and never will.

And so as we face the the reality that we, the Filipino people, have let crooks get away with plunder and murder – we also owe it to ourselves, our children and future generations of Filipinos to make things right so we can heal our land.

Our three branches of government have ceased to function to protect the private property of the Filipino people. The legislative and executive branches have become party to legitimized plunder – of destroying our private property instead of protecting it. Even as we still have doubts about the judiciary, I say that the members of the Supreme Court have redeemed themselves today as the last glimmer of hope for our literally dying nation.

What then are the options left to us when the two branches of government have become the enemy of the people. Indeed these are desperate times. We do not seek bloodshed as our people are already dying from disaster, poverty, economic dislocation. The world can only do so much – if we are to redeem ourselves as a nation, we are now given the inconvenient task of holding this government usurpers accountable and to ensure that this despicable moment in our history is never repeated again. The world will not do it for us – this is something we have to do ourselves.

I don’t know where our military and police stand at this point – if they too have already been coopted and corrupted to the point of no return. I wonder if they will choose to honor the constitution and the republic which it stands for – or continue to be armed thugs for the powers that be. I hope beyond hope, and pray to the highest heavens that perhaps our generals, officers, and soldiers will choose to do the right thing and serve the Filipino people and not this criminal clique by the Pasig River. This is their moment of truth when they have to make one of the toughest decisions in their life if we are to save our country.

At this point allow me to present some talking points that came about in a conversation with a senior citizen who has seen it all. I admit – these are very raw – and needs more thinking. But hey, someone’s gotta start somewhere.

***

Given: Unconstitutionality of Pork Barrel/PDAF/DAP/CDF

Assumptions:

ALL elected officials (from national to barangay) have at one time or another have partaken, received, disbursed funds from DAP/PDAF/CDF) and have also their own COA-exempt discretionary funds

Possible Courses of Action:

1 – Aquino gets to stay until 2016 – he will be a lame-duck president and the rest of his term will be characterized by social unrest

2 – Aquino gets booted out in less than a year from now

***

If #1 takes place – then that’s practically the status quo

If #2 takes place – then here are some ideas to consider:

2.1. For the AFP to take the lead in a peaceful transition of power – and remove the de facto criminal government in the executive, legislative, and local governments

2.2. Abolish the 1987 Constitution – replace it with one that:

2.2.1 removes the 60/40 provisions (Article 12);
2.2.2 removes the welfare state provisions (Article 13);
2.2.3 abolishes the bicameral house and replaces it with a unicameral body
2.2.4 mandate that government spending will not exceed 10% of GDP
2.2.5 establishes flat tax

3. For the AFP to conduct elections within 6 months to a year of removing and prosecuting the plunderers – with the following provisos:

3.1 All incumbent executive officials (and their family) from local to national who have disbursed, received PDAF/DAP/CDF funds or have disbursed COA-exempt discretionary funds – ARE BANNED from holding office in perpetuity.

3.2 All incumbent legislative officials (from national to local) who passed legislation similar to PDAF/DAP/CDF funds or have disbursed COA-exempt discretionary funds – ARE BANNED from holding office in perpetuity.

***

Are you ready to step up?
Are you ready to step up?

May God save the Philippines.

FROM THE MANILA TIMES

SC to declare DAP unconstitutional June 15, 2014 10:28 pm by JOMAR CANLAS
SENIOR REPORTER

THE Supreme Court (SC) is set to declare the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) as unconstitutional.

According to an unimpeachable source of The Manila Times, an overwhelming majority of SC justices are inclined to rule that President Benigno Aquino 3rd and Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad violated the Constitution when they created and implemented the DAP, which was touted as the President’s own “pork barrel.”

The magistrates held a “soft voting” on the issue on Tuesday last week and the en banc agreed in principle that DAP is unconstitutional because funds were transferred from one branch of government to another.

The Times source said at least nine out of the 13 justices manifested their intention to declare DAP illegal.

“A consensus was already made by the justice—DAP is unconstitutional. Two violations were committed by [the President] and Abad: first, there are no savings to begin with and second, if there are such savings, [the] cross-border of money savings is not allowed,” the source at the High Court said.

The source noted that a draft of the tribunal’s decision written by Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin has been circulated among the justices, as well as the separate concurring and dissenting opinions of the other magistrates.

The SC, however, will officially hand down its ruling on DAP in the first week of July since the justices have until June 25 to submit the final draft of their separate opinions. These opinions shall be considered and deliberated upon during their final voting on July 1.

According to The Times source, the separate opinions of Justices Antonio Carpio, Arturo Brion, Mariano del Castillo, Marvic Leonen and Estela Perlas-Bernabe have been circulated among the other justices.

One justice was of the opinion that DAP is “not unconstitutional” while another maintained that the program’s creation was legal for it is within the powers of the President as head of government and not just the executive branch.

Carpio circulated his draft opinion in April when the court held its summer session in Baguio City. Brion also circulated his draft opinion on the contending issues.

Carpio, Brion and Bersamin are known in the bench and the Bar as the “bright lights” in the High Court because of their brilliant minds.

Only 13 justices will vote on the DAP case during final deliberations next month because Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro inhibited herself while Associate Justice Roberto Abad retired on May 22.

Two violations

During their deliberations last week, The Times source said the SC magistrates upheld the “fiscal autonomy” powers of the President in using the savings of various government agencies but they noted that such funds can only be used within the executive branch.

The justices pinpointed the twin violations committed by Aquino and Abad when they implemented the DAP—the illegal use of the savings of government agencies and the “cross-border” scheme under which such funds were transferred to another branch of government.

The DAP first came to light last year when Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada disclosed that senators who voted to convict former Chief Justice Renato Corona in 2012 were each given an additional P50 million incentive. The money reportedly came from DAP.

Estrada admitted receiving the incentive but he maintained that the money was not a bribe.

The SC justices said the transfer of funds from the executive to the legislative department violates the doctrine of separation of powers.

The 1987 Constitution empowers the heads of each department to use their savings under their “fiscal autonomy” power.

Those given such fiscal autonomy powers are the President, Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief Justice and the chairmen of the Constitutional Commissions.

Malacañang had claimed that DAP was launched as a stimulus program, and that funds from slow moving projects were transferred to other projects to propel economic growth. It noted that the case is moot because DAP is no longer being implemented.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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