PNoy AT INC, TELLS CRITICS: STOP CASTING DOUBTS ON MY ADMINISTRATION   

JULY 22 --Facing eroding public satisfaction ratings and controversies involving the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), President Benigno Aquino III on Monday appealed to his critics to stop casting doubts on his administration. During a speech at the inauguration ceremonies of the Iglesia ni Cristo's multibillion-peso Philippine Arena in Bulacan, Aquino quoted Bible verses several times, and told his detractors to act like Christians. "May iilan ho na makakahanap ng batikos kahit sa pagdalo ko rito. Ang masasabi ko lang po, kung kapwa ko kayo na Kristyano, tungkulin nating magmahalan sa halip na maghasik ng agam-agam," the President said. Members of the Iglesia ni Cristo met Aquino's Bible quotes with loud applause, prompting the President to say in jest, "Napapaisip po ako ... kapag nag-quote po ako sa Bible kahit matagal ko na kasamahan, nabibigla po." The Iglesia ni Cristo is a religious group known for voting as a bloc during elections, with an estimated command vote of 5 to 8 million. It has ministries in 102 countries. During the 2010 elections, the Iglesia ni Cristo supported Aquino's successful presidential bid. * READ MORE...

ALSO: ‘Love one another,’ Noy preaches to foes, critics
JULY 22--President Aquino had three words for yesterday’s protesting court workers who told him to stop bullying the judiciary and account for the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) funds and the groups who filed an impeachment complaint against him: “Love one another.”
Aquino assumed the unfamiliar role yesterday, that of a peace maker instead of a source of discord in a speech delivered before members of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) at the inauguration of religious sect’s Ciudad de Victoria in preparation for the INC’s centennial celebration on Sunday, July 27.

Aquino lifted from the bible Christ’s teaching stating that “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me”. The first impeachment complaint was filed against Aquino after being unmasked in having initiated the ouster of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona and the detention of the three Palace targets Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, and Ramon Revilla Jr. as a result of the pork barrel scandal. Aquino was preaching love and unity to his supposed enemies which he said he may have created “while pursuing reforms in the government.” The President is facing several impeachment complaints filed by different groups against him, following his defense of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), in which certain Palace acts that created the money pool were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Aquino quoted bible verses before thousands of members of INC members as a form of reminder to his detractors telling them that instead of casting doubts, they have a duty to love one another as fellow Christians.
Earning applauses from an estimated 55,000 INC members, Aquino quoted John 13:34-35 which says “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” and Matthew 25:40 that stated “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’.” “In my task of initiating reforms, creating enemies can’t be avoided. There are those who find fault in whatever I do, including my attending this event. My only reminder to them: If they are also Christians, we share the common obligation to love one another in the name of the Lord instead of spreading distrust and misunderstanding,” Aquino said.
“As a follower of the Lord, I wish we’ll find ways to help each other and to uplift each other’s welfare; let us all be fountains of hope and charity for our countrymen particularly those in great need,” he added. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Jinggoy not in favor of impeach raps vs Noy; calls to end divisiveness 

JULY 22 --Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, wearing an orange ribbon pinned to his barong yesterday when
he attended a bail hearing at the Sandiganbayan where he is facing plunder and graft charges, is not in favor of impeaching President Aquino. He instead called for unity and an end to divisiveness. “Let’s not divide the country anymore,” he said, explaining that the color orange is a combination of yellow – associated with Aquino’s camp – and red, which judiciary employees and judges are using along with black to symbolize their protest against the alleged bullying of the administration and the legislature’s attacks against the judicial branch.

Orange is actually the color of the senator’s party, Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino. “We have a lot of problems to solve and we should let the President finish his term up to 2016,” said Estrada. Aside from Estrada, Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Ramon Revilla Jr., alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles and several congressmen and other personalities are facing plunder and graft charges for the misuse of billions of pesos worth of pork barrel or Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of lawmakers. Estrada, who is asking the Sandiganbayan to grant him bail, believes that the impeachment complaints against Aquino will not prosper. “This is a numbers game. I don’t think the House will muster enough signatures to impeach the President, considering the fact that majority of its members are allies of the President. Maybe we should end the divisiveness. We are tired. The people are tired,” he said, adding that impeachment proceedings at the Senate will also hamper legislation. * READ MORE...

ALSO: ‘P-Noy fate over DAP better in Congress than SC’ 

JULY 22 --A Palace official has expressed preference for a political battle where President Aquino has better chances with congressmen deciding the impeachment complaints rather than appointed justices. Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said he prefers elected officials tackle the Aquino impeachment issue in the House of Representatives over the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). Coloma said that while the nullified DAP is legal in character, this issue has now been transferred to the political arena with the filing of impeachment complaints. He told Palace reporters that elected representatives of the people would decide and not the justices of the high court. Coloma was apparently referring to the Supreme Court justices that unanimously voted that portions of DAP were unconstitutional. Under the DAP, savings pooled were allocated to programs, activities and projects that were not covered by the General Appropriations Act. Coloma stressed that the House members are expected to safeguard the welfare of the people. At the same time, he expressed confidence that the impeachment complaints against Aquino will not prosper, not only because this is in reality a numbers game, but primarily because the congressmen have the interest of the people in mind. Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said they will allow the House to decide on the series of impeachment complaints filed against Aquino over DAP. “The House has its rules. We will defer to the committee on justice and to House members themselves,” Lacierda said, referring to the panel headed by Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr., an ally of Aquino. * READ MORE...

(ALSO) SONA 2014: A quick look at PNoy's performance ratings since 2010 

JULY 23 --As President Aquino is about to give his 5th State of the Nation Address since assuming the presidency in 2010, Philstar takes a look again at his performance rating. SCROLL DOWN TO VIEW INFOGRAPH...

ALSO: P800M DAP funds used Palace renovations, tourism, etc.

JULY 23 --Some P800 million from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which the Supreme Court recently declared unconstitutional, was spent for construction, renovation and equipment upgrade in Malacañang (photo). Documents obtained by the Inquirer showed the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) issued a special allotment release order (Saro) three years ago channeling P17.94 million to the Office of the President (OP) for the “proper restoration and rehabilitation of various rooms in Malacañang Palace.” The OP had not replied to the Inquirer’s query as of press time.
Another DAP-Saro amounting to P248.37 million was released in 2011 to upgrade Malacañang’s communication system for the Presidential Security Group. The DAP-Saro was issued through the Department of National Defense (DND). The DND also received another DAP-Saro in 2012 for P60 million for the “rehabilitation of the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) air education and training command.” The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), on the other hand, used P15 million from the DAP to repair and rehabilitate the Philippine National Police crime laboratory. The DBM issued two DAP-Saros in 2011 for this project. P100M for think tank
The budget department also issued a P100-million DAP-Saro in 2011 for the land purchase and building construction expenses of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), a state-run economic think tank.
This was exclusive of the P560 million in DAP funds given to PIDS for research grants in the capacity building program of leading universities. * READ MORE...


ALSO: PNoy faces 2nd impeach case; Palace unperturbed by mounting protests

JULY 23 --An impeachment complaint was filed for the second straight day yesterday against President Aquino, charging him “with culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust, and graft and corruption” over the creation and execution of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). The second impeachment complaint was filed a day after anti-pork barrel groups, led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), lodged a 75-page impeachment complaint against the President for implementing the DAP, which they consider “culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust.” Still another impeachment complaint will be filed tomorrow, July 24, this time, citing President Aquino for culpable violation of the Constitution for entering into the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the United States. Gabriela Partylist Reps. Luzviminda Ilagan and Emmi de Jesus said they will endorse the third impeachment complaint. PALACE UNPERTURBED Malacañang, however, is not at all worried by the impeachment complaints filed against President Aquino and other protest actions mounted against his administration. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Admin solon accuses SC of double-standards on PDAF, DAP decisions   

JULY 23 --For striking down the executive branch's Disbursement Acceleration Program and the legislative’s Priority Development Assistance Fund, declaring both unconstitutional, an administration ally in the House of Representatives on Tuesday criticized the Supreme Court for having “double standards” since it continued to implement the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF). “We have a situation where the highest court, the learned lawyers and justices of this country are practicing a double standard of justice. Ang PDAF ng House, which has the power of the purse, sabi nila unconstitutional. The DAP of the executive was also declared unconstitutional. But they have a JDF na hindi dumadaan sa Kongreso at hindi naa-account sa Bureau of Treasury,” Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali (photo)said in a press briefing. Umali added that the Supreme Court was “closing its eyes to its own anomalies.”

“The SC says what the legislative and executive did [with the PDAF and DAP] was unconstitutional. But when it comes to the JDF, we don’t even know how it was used,” the lawmaker said. Two bills seeking to give Congress some control over the JDF were filed in the House recently following the Supreme Court’s adverse decision on the DAP last July 1. House Bill 4690, filed by Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas seeks to amend certain provisions in the Martial Law-era Presidential Decree 1949 that established the JDF so Congress can monitor the remittance, allocation, disbursement and audit of the JDF. HB 4738 filed by Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr., meanwhile, seeks to abolish PD 1949 entirely and replace the JDF with the Judicial Support Fund (JSF). This fund, which will be deposited with the National Treasury, will only be released to the SC after the judiciary has submitted an itemized special budget detailing where the funds will be spent. * READ MORE...

ALSO: DAP ruling not yet final – SC  

JULY 23 --The Supreme Court’s (SC) decision that declared unconstitutional several acts and practices in the implementation of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) by the Office of the President (OP) is not yet final and executory. After yesterday’s full court session, the SC required the petitioners against DAP to comment in 10 days on the motion for reconsideration filed by the OP. The OP team is led by Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza and retired SC Justice Vicente Mendoza. A copy of the SC resolution requiring comment on the motion was not immediately available. But the SC’s action on the motion was confirmed by SC Spokesperson Theodore O. Te. The OP is expected to submit its reply after receipt of the comment. The process would further stall the final outcome of the SC decision on DAP made July 1, 2014. OFFICE of the PRESIDENT MOTION (OP) --In its 52-page motion, the OP told the SC that “the DAP, an economic stimulus facility designed to accelerate public spending, should be afforded the presumption of constitutionality and good faith.” “The President and his alter egos, in implementing a decidedly successful program, deserve to be afforded the traditional constitutional presumptions that apply to most other forms of public actions, especially the presumption of good faith,” the OP said in its motion. SC RULING  - * READ MORE...

ALSO: DAP used but not its funds for landowners, claims Abad  

JULY 23 --The brains of the discredited Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) Budget Secretary Florencio Abad insisted yesterday that no DAP funds were used to compensate landowners including the family of President Aquino who owns the sprawling Hacienda Luisita estate in Tarlac despite an item on it in the DAP projects list that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released recently. “All we did was release the Notice for Cash Allocation (NCA) for the CARP so the funds could be released to the proper beneficiaries,” Abad said. Abad said the DBM “wanted to expedite the release of these funds so we could quickly turn over the land due our farmers”. “The DAP allowed us to do precisely that, so that Hacienda Luisita farmers could finally own the land they’ve worked on for so long,” Abad said. The P5.4 billion in agrarian reform funds funded through the DAP to pay landowners including the Cojuangco-Aquino clan of the President, was the basis of the first impeachment complaint filed against Aquino last Monday. Abad said in a statement the funds released to compensate landowners which totaled to P7.93 billion came from the national budget of 2010 and 2011, and “not through the DAP, as alleged by Mariano,” even as Abad also admitted that the DAP funds were used for that purpose. * READ MORE...

ALSO Philstar commentary: Can’t let go 

JULY 21 --From the flood of official statements in the past days, it looks like there are marching orders all the way from the top for all government agencies to trumpet the projects funded through the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). The announcements are unlikely to sway the Supreme Court (SC) to change its unanimous ruling against the DAP. And it doesn’t look like the press releases will sway public opinion in favor of Malacañang’s position on the stimulus program. If the reason for the official praises for the program is to make people blame the SC for the scrapping of DAP-funded projects, the Palace should rethink its tack. I’ve talked to several beneficiaries of the DAP and their sentiment is that with the program declared unconstitutional, Malacañang should just find other ways of continuing the funding for worthy projects. After all, President Aquino, in his recent address to the nation, reassured DAP beneficiaries that he would ask Congress for a supplemental budget to sustain the projects, including scholarships. People knew from the start that the DAP was for development projects that benefited the nation. If we go along with this defense, lawmakers can also argue that their constituents benefited from their pork barrel, even if they are accused of skimming funds funneled through bogus non-government organizations or getting kickbacks from pork-funded projects they selected at their full discretion.

I haven’t heard anyone accuse P-Noy of pocketing funds from the DAP despite the wide discretion he exercised in its utilization, so yes, people are aware of the difference between the DAP and PDAF, or the Priority Development Assistance Fund. What the Supreme Court struck down are the provisions on impounding “savings” before the fiscal year is over, and the manner of realigning such savings. Sen. Jinggoy Estrada struck the first blow when he disclosed that the DAP was used seemingly as a reward to lawmakers for voting to kick out Renato Corona as chief justice. The senators were hurting from the loss of their annual P200 million individual pork barrel and of being accused of large-scale corruption. Senator Jinggoy didn’t get mad, he got even. * * * With the loss of the DAP, the Palace is also mad, and trying to get even.

In the appeal of the SC ruling, filed as promised last week, Malacañang has tried to turn the tables on the high court, notably P-Noy appointee Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno (et tu…?) and Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio. The government argued that both justices had also realigned judiciary funds outside the intended and allowed purposes, and the executive looked the other way. Since the projects questioned involved the construction of offices for the judiciary, however, they are not generating what the Palace probably hoped would be the same level of criticism that greeted the DAP. This is not to say that the executive and legislative branches should not push for transparency and accountability in judiciary funds. Transparency in judicial funds has been pushed by media groups and other organizations for a long time, with the effort intensifying when Corona was doomed by inaccuracies in his official asset statement. If a probe will lead to reforms in the utilization of judicial funds, by all means the probe should be conducted. As in the DAP and the impounding and realignment of savings, it won’t be enough to argue that justices and judges are simply continuing what has been practiced long before they assumed their positions.


READ FULL REPORT HERE:

PNoy tells critics: Stop casting doubts on my administration


President Benigno Aquino III joins Iglesia Ni Cristo Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo after the inauguration of the Philippine Arena, world's largest indoor arena, in Bocaue, Bulacan on Monday, July 21. GMA News At right, the stadium exterior at dusk. The building’s capacity pushes the boundary of arena design and will eventually establish itself as the world’s largest indoor arena. The form uses simple geometry to create an elegant appearance, while also giving the venue a powerful presence within its setting.’ Designed by-Andrew James, POPULOUS Senior Principal.

MANILA, JULY 28, 2014 (GMA NEWS NETWORK) JULY 22, 2014 By ANDREO CALONZO,GMA - Facing eroding public satisfaction ratings and controversies involving the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), President Benigno Aquino III on Monday appealed to his critics to stop casting doubts on his administration.

During a speech at the inauguration ceremonies of the Iglesia ni Cristo's multibillion-peso Philippine Arena in Bulacan, Aquino quoted Bible verses several times, and told his detractors to act like Christians.

"May iilan ho na makakahanap ng batikos kahit sa pagdalo ko rito. Ang masasabi ko lang po, kung kapwa ko kayo na Kristyano, tungkulin nating magmahalan sa halip na maghasik ng agam-agam," the President said.

Members of the Iglesia ni Cristo met Aquino's Bible quotes with loud applause, prompting the President to say in jest, "Napapaisip po ako ... kapag nag-quote po ako sa Bible kahit matagal ko na kasamahan, nabibigla po."

The Iglesia ni Cristo is a religious group known for voting as a bloc during elections, with an estimated command vote of 5 to 8 million. It has ministries in 102 countries.

During the 2010 elections, the Iglesia ni Cristo supported Aquino's successful presidential bid.

* Iglesia ni Cristo support

In his speech, the President likewise thanked the religious group for its continued support for his administration.

"Maraming salamat po sa pagiging kabalikat ng administrasyon sa pagsulong ng mabuting pamamahala," Aquino said.

The Aquino administration has been facing criticism for the past months over the DAP, the administration's controversial spending mechanism declared partially unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. The executive branch appealed the DAP ruling last Friday.

Pollster Pulse Asia earlier reported a significant drop in Aquino's trust and approval ratings based on a survey covering the period when certain acts under the DAP were struck down by the high court.

Progressive members of the House of Representatives have already expressed intention to file impeachment complaints against Aquino over the DAP. — RSJ/KG, GMA News

FROM THE TRIBUNE

‘Love one another,’ Noy preaches to foes, critics Written by Tribune
Tuesday, 22 July 2014 00:00


President Benigno S. Aquino III delivers his speech during the Inauguration of Ciudad de Victoria (City of Victory) in Bocaue, Bulacan on Monday (July 21, 2014). Ciudad de Victoria is a 50-hectare tourism enterprise zone established by the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) in time for its centennial celebration on July 27 (Sunday). Other major structures expected to be completed in the area in the near future are the Philippine Stadium, New Era University, Eraño G. Manalo Medical Center, and some soon-to-rise shops, hotels, and leisure parks. INC is considered as the third largest religious denomination in the Philippines with its members comprising 2.3 percent of the population based on the census of Year 2000 conducted by the National Statistics Office (NSO). (Photo by Ryan Lim / Malacañang Photo Bureau)

President Aquino had three words for yesterday’s protesting court workers who told him to stop bullying the judiciary and account for the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) funds and the groups who filed an impeachment complaint against him: “Love one another.”

Aquino assumed the unfamiliar role yesterday, that of a peace maker instead of a source of discord in a speech delivered before members of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) at the inauguration of religious sect’s Ciudad de Victoria in preparation for the INC’s centennial celebration on Sunday, July 27.

Aquino lifted from the bible Christ’s teaching stating that “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me”.

The first impeachment complaint was filed against Aquino after being unmasked in having initiated the ouster of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona and the detention of the three Palace targets Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, and Ramon Revilla Jr. as a result of the pork barrel scandal.

Aquino was preaching love and unity to his supposed enemies which he said he may have created “while pursuing reforms in the government.”

The President is facing several impeachment complaints filed by different groups against him, following his defense of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), in which certain Palace acts that created the money pool were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Aquino quoted bible verses before thousands of members of INC members as a form of reminder to his detractors telling them that instead of casting doubts, they have a duty to love one another as fellow Christians.

Earning applauses from an estimated 55,000 INC members, Aquino quoted John 13:34-35 which says “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” and Matthew 25:40 that stated “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’.”

“In my task of initiating reforms, creating enemies can’t be avoided. There are those who find fault in whatever I do, including my attending this event. My only reminder to them: If they are also Christians, we share the common obligation to love one another in the name of the Lord instead of spreading distrust and misunderstanding,” Aquino said.

“As a follower of the Lord, I wish we’ll find ways to help each other and to uplift each other’s welfare; let us all be fountains of hope and charity for our countrymen particularly those in great need,” he added.

* Most of the President’s speech contained praises for the INC, citing the group’s achievements as having helped improve the lives of millions of Filipinos who are among its members.

He also thanked the religious institution for its continuous support for his administration. The INC endorsed President Aquino during the 2010 elections.

Aquino also congratulated the INC for spreading the love of God to the world and showing what the Filipinos can achieve through a unified endeavor.

Before a huge crowd of INC members led by their executive minister Eduardo Manalo, Aquino said he was awed by the majestic structure that was filled to the rafters by an estimated 55,000 people.

He said the imposing structure was built from the collective love of the INC faithful which shows that Filipinos can be at par with other countries.

“I learned from my father that in delivering a speech, I should look at the eyes of people in the crowd but I can say that this structure is so vast that I have to strain to see people in the balcony,” the President told a cheering crowd waving small INC flags.

Earlier, Aquino and Manalo unveiled the symbolic marker of “Ciudad Victoria” before proceeding inside the Philippine Arena where he got a standing ovation from the waiting crowd.

With a capacity of 55,000 seats, the Philippine Arena is owned by the Iglesia ni Cristo and operated by its educational institution—the New Era University.

An eye-catching imposing structure, which is built on 99,200 square meters of land with a dome of 36,000 square meters, the Philippine Arena is touted as “the centerpiece” of the many centennial projects of the INC for their grand celebration on July 27.

Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado, who was with the President and top leaders of the INC during the inauguration program, said that “the Philippine Arena is not only the centerpiece of the Iglesia Ni Cristo centennial anniversary but is also gem of pride of the people and the province of Bulacan and the entire nation as well.”

The governor said that the opening of the Philippine Arena will spur growth and economic boom not only in Bocaue but also in the neighboring towns of Sta. Maria, Pandi, Balagtas and parts of Marilao.

“This will usher in a new look for Bulacan which is now on the threshold of growth and development. The Philippine Arena is not only a beacon of strong faith to God but also heralds the dawn of bright future for the province due to its world class characteristic,” he said.

The closing prayer delivered by Bro. Dan Orosa, an INC minister, aptly summed up the momentous event.

“Thank you our beloved Lord for uplifting us from our himble beginnings to becoming a Church whose presence has become known to all over the world,” he said.

FROM PHILSTAR

Jinggoy not in favor of impeach raps vs Noy By Michael Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 23, 2014 - 12:00am 0 2 googleplus0 0


Senator Jinggoy Estrada wears an orange ribbon on his barong during his bail hearing at the Sandiganbayan in Quezon City on Tuesday, July 22. Estrada is facing graft and plunder charges in connection with the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam. He and Sen. Ramon Bong Revilla Jr., another senator charged in connection with the scam, are detained at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame. THIS PHOTO IS COURTESY OF GMA News.

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, wearing an orange ribbon pinned to his barong yesterday when he attended a bail hearing at the Sandiganbayan where he is facing plunder and graft charges, is not in favor of impeaching President Aquino.

He instead called for unity and an end to divisiveness.

“Let’s not divide the country anymore,” he said, explaining that the color orange is a combination of yellow – associated with Aquino’s camp – and red, which judiciary employees and judges are using along with black to symbolize their protest against the alleged bullying of the administration and the legislature’s attacks against the judicial branch.

Orange is actually the color of the senator’s party, Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino.

“We have a lot of problems to solve and we should let the President finish his term up to 2016,” said Estrada.

Aside from Estrada, Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Ramon Revilla Jr., alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles and several congressmen and other personalities are facing plunder and graft charges for the misuse of billions of pesos worth of pork barrel or Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of lawmakers.

Estrada, who is asking the Sandiganbayan to grant him bail, believes that the impeachment complaints against Aquino will not prosper.

“This is a numbers game. I don’t think the House will muster enough signatures to impeach the President, considering the fact that majority of its members are allies of the President. Maybe we should end the divisiveness. We are tired. The people are tired,” he said, adding that impeachment proceedings at the Senate will also hamper legislation.

Ombudsman prosecutors presented graft investigation and prosecution officer (GIPO) Vic Escalante of the anti-graft agency’s Field Investigation Office (FIO) in yesterday’s bail hearing.

Estrada, who has been religiously attending hearings on his plunder and graft cases, was ordered suspended for 90 days by the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division last week.

Enrile bucks suspension

Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile asked the Sandiganbayan yesterday to dismiss the moves of ombudsman prosecutors to suspend him, arguing that under the 1987 Constitution only the Senate of the Philippines has the power to discipline him.

Enrile’s lawyer Estelito Mendoza made the argument before the anti-graft court’s Third Division, pointing out the rights of the senator will be violated if a preventive suspension order is issued based on Republic Act 6070 or the Plunder Law.

Enrile’s camp said the validity of the criminal complaint for plunder filed by the Office of the Ombudsman is still in question for being too general and they intend to elevate the matter before the Supreme Court.

“Assuming, for the sake of argument, that the Information is valid, the suspension of Enrile is still improper as it violates the constitutionally enshrined right of Enrile to due process, and of the independence of the legislative branch of government,” Mendoza said in an 11-page opposition to the prosecution’s motion to suspend.

“The 1987 Constitution explicitly provides that each house of the legislative branch shall have the power to punish its members for disorderly behavior, and with the concurrence of two-thirds of all its members, suspend or expel a member. Thus, only the Senate shall have the power to suspend Enrile from his office,” Mendoza said.

‘P-Noy fate over DAP better in Congress than SC’ By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 23, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - A Palace official has expressed preference for a political battle where President Aquino has better chances with congressmen deciding the impeachment complaints rather than appointed justices.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said he prefers elected officials tackle the Aquino impeachment issue in the House of Representatives over the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

Coloma said that while the nullified DAP is legal in character, this issue has now been transferred to the political arena with the filing of impeachment complaints.

He told Palace reporters that elected representatives of the people would decide and not the justices of the high court.

Coloma was apparently referring to the Supreme Court justices that unanimously voted that portions of DAP were unconstitutional. Under the DAP, savings pooled were allocated to programs, activities and projects that were not covered by the General Appropriations Act.

Coloma stressed that the House members are expected to safeguard the welfare of the people.

At the same time, he expressed confidence that the impeachment complaints against Aquino will not prosper, not only because this is in reality a numbers game, but primarily because the congressmen have the interest of the people in mind.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said they will allow the House to decide on the series of impeachment complaints filed against Aquino over DAP.

“The House has its rules. We will defer to the committee on justice and to House members themselves,” Lacierda said, referring to the panel headed by Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr., an ally of Aquino.

* Tupas is a member of the ruling Liberal Party that Aquino heads, and the congressman also led the prosecution team in the impeachment trial of then chief justice Renato Corona in May 2012.

“If we make any statement as to conclusion, then there will be implications to that. So we would rather let the House assess it and use their own rules to assess the allegations of the complaint,” he told a news briefing.

Lacierda also assured the people the administration would not lift a finger to have the impeachment complaint thrown out.

When asked if pork barrel funds – in whatever form – may again be dangled as an incentive to congressmen who will vote to have the impeachment complaint thrown out, he said it will be up to the lawmakers themselves.

Over the weekend, Coloma hinted it may still be premature to file an impeachment complaint against Aquino, noting that the Supreme Court’s ruling on DAP is not yet final and executory.

Serial filing

Critics of Aquino have apparently engaged in serial filing of impeachment complaints against him.

Yesterday, 25 student leaders belonging to the Youth Act Now lodged their own complaint against Aquino with the House.

The move followed the filing of the first case on Monday by militant groups led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan).

Teachers belonging to party-list group Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) are scheduled to file a third complaint today.

Party-list Reps. Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna and Fernando Hicap of Anakpawis endorsed the Bayan complaint, while Rep. Terry Ridon of Kabataan served as endorser of the youth leaders’ impeachment case.

ACT party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio is expected to endorse his group’s complaint.

Party-list Reps. Luzviminda Ilagan and Emmi de Jesus of Gabriela announced that they would join their colleagues in endorsing the complaints.

Bayan and the youth groups’ accusations against Aquino are based largely on the administration’s controversial DAP.

Their complaints charge the President with culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust in connection with DAP.

The third complaint may contain the same allegations.

Asked why they did not join Monday’s complainants and chose to file their own complaint, Ridon said they wanted to show the public that there is a snowballing move to make the President accountable for his accelerated spending program through the impeachment process.

Among the student organizations under Youth Act Now are League of Filipino Students, Anakbayan, National Union of Students of the Philippines, College Editors’ Guild of the Philippines, Student Christian Movement of the Philippines and Kabataang Artista Para sa Tunay na Kalayaan.

Ridon said the complainants are students of various Metro Manila universities.

The complainants urged fellow students to boycott their classes in protest DAP.

Tupas, who chairs the House committee on justice, said two or more complaints could constitute one impeachment proceeding, provided they are referred to his panel at the same time. – With Michael Punongbayan, Jess Diaz, Mayen Jaymalin, Marvin Sy, Edu Punay, Eva Visperas

SONA 2014: A quick look at PNoy's performance ratings since 2010 (philstar.com) | Updated July 23, 2014 - 12:00am 0 4 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - As President Aquino is about to give his 5th State of the Nation Address since assuming the presidency in 2010, we take a look again at his performance rating.

FROM THE INQUIRER

P800M DAP funds used Palace renovations, tourism, etc. By Gil C. Cabacungan |Philippine Daily Inquirer1:42 am | Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014


Some P800 million from the Disbursement Acceleration Program, which the Supreme Court recently declared unconstitutional, was spent for construction, renovation and equipment upgrade in Malacañang (pictured). (photo: facebook.com/malacanang)

MANILA, Philippines–Some P800 million from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which the Supreme Court recently declared unconstitutional, was spent for construction, renovation and equipment upgrade in Malacañang.

Documents obtained by the Inquirer showed the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) issued a special allotment release order (Saro) three years ago channeling P17.94 million to the Office of the President (OP) for the “proper restoration and rehabilitation of various rooms in Malacañang Palace.”

The OP had not replied to the Inquirer’s query as of press time.

Another DAP-Saro amounting to P248.37 million was released in 2011 to upgrade Malacañang’s communication system for the Presidential Security Group. The DAP-Saro was issued through the Department of National Defense (DND).

The DND also received another DAP-Saro in 2012 for P60 million for the “rehabilitation of the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) air education and training command.”

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), on the other hand, used P15 million from the DAP to repair and rehabilitate the Philippine National Police crime laboratory. The DBM issued two DAP-Saros in 2011 for this project.

P100M for think tank

The budget department also issued a P100-million DAP-Saro in 2011 for the land purchase and building construction expenses of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), a state-run economic think tank.

This was exclusive of the P560 million in DAP funds given to PIDS for research grants in the capacity building program of leading universities.

* A P20-million DAP-Saro was issued to the Department of Justice (DOJ) to modernize and build new crime laboratories for the National Bureau of Investigation.

The amount was on top of other DAP funds granted to the DOJ, such as P20 million for the purchase of new computers for the NBI; P14.2 million for the information technology upgrade of the Office of the Solicitor General; and P7 million for the training of NBI agents.

P144M for COA

For its part, the Commission on Audit (COA) received P143.7 million in DAP funds in 2011 to buy new computers and hire more litigation experts.

The DAP also funded the Department of Tourism’s P207-million “Kilometer Zero” national monument hardscape and softscape projects and P25-million Cine Corregidor complex preservation project in 2011.

In 2012, the tourism department also received P1.77 billion from the DAP for the “convergence program on enhancing tourism access.”

These were part of the 1,014 DAP-Saros issued by the DBM from October 2011 to December 2013 covering P150.6 billion in savings transferred from other agencies and slow-moving projects.

Around 90 percent of the DAP-Saros were given to lawmakers.

FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

PNoy faces 2nd impeach case; Palace unperturbed by mounting protests by Genalyn D. Kabiling, Charissa M. Luci & Ben R. Rosario July 23, 2014

An impeachment complaint was filed for the second straight day yesterday against President Aquino, charging him “with culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust, and graft and corruption” over the creation and execution of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

The second impeachment complaint was filed a day after anti-pork barrel groups, led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), lodged a 75-page impeachment complaint against the President for implementing the DAP, which they consider “culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust.”

Still another impeachment complaint will be filed tomorrow, July 24, this time, citing President Aquino for culpable violation of the Constitution for entering into the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the United States. Gabriela Partylist Reps. Luzviminda Ilagan and Emmi de Jesus said they will endorse the third impeachment complaint.

PALACE UNPERTURBED

Malacañang, however, is not at all worried by the impeachment complaints filed against President Aquino and other protest actions mounted against his administration.

* Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said they expect the lawmakers to consider the “truth, reason, and public welfare” in assessing the impeachment complaint filed by some militant groups against the President.

“Katuwiran ang dapat na maging pangunahing batayan ng mga kinatawan. Sa kanilang pagpapasya, tiyak na isasaalang-alang nila ang saloobin at kapakanan ng mga mamamayan [Reason should be the main basis of our lawmakers. In their decision-making, it is certain they will consider the sentiment and welfare of our people],” Coloma said in a Palace press briefing.

“Hindi maikakaila na mahalaga ang numero dito dahil sa kahuli-hulihan magbobotohan kung ipapasa o hindi ang panukalang impeachment. Ngunit naniniwala pa rin kami na katotohanan, katuwiran, at ang kapakanan ng mga mamamayan ang dapat na pairalin [We cannot deny that numbers are important because in the end, there will be a vote on whether or not to endorse the impeachment complaint but we believe that truth, reason and public welfare will prevail],” he added.

OBEY THE LAW

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas reminded lawmakers that there is a very important distinction between what is popular – or appears to be so – and what is right.

“I pray that all our officials ever be cognizant of this important difference so that all may resist the temptation of pursuing a course of action only because it seems to be popular,” he said in a statement Monday.

“Let the government show the citizenry that the law is at all times to be obeyed, for only under such a regime are rights and liberties safeguarded,” Villegas said.

‘ATTEMPTED CORRUPTION’

Wearing “Impeach PNoy” wristbands, the 25 youth and student-complainants led by anti-pork barrel youth alliance Youth Act Now (Youth for Accountability and Truth Now) accused the President of committing “attempted corruption of public officials” by giving DAP funds to legislators right after the Corona impeachment trial, which they said is punishable under Article 212, in relation to the second paragraph of Article 210, of the Revised Penal Code.

“Since Aquino has shown a clear lack of delicadeza, wisdom, and humility to resign from office over his culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust, and graft and corruption, the concerned citizens led by youth and student organizations come to Congress today to avail themselves of the constitutional process of impeachment to hold him accountable,” they said.

116 COUNTS OF TECHNICAL MALVERSATION

They said Aquino “committed no less than 116 counts of technical malversation for approving and implementing the 116 DAP-funded projects.”

The complainants, including youth and student leaders and campus journalists, said President Aquino should be held accountable for “tyrannical abuse of power and gross exercise of discretionary powers through his blatant and willful disregard of the prerogatives reserved by the Constitution for the co-equal branches of government.”

Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon, who endorsed the complaint found the second ouster complaint “sufficient in form and substance.”

“Hindi lang ito mere violation of the Constitution, there is willful and deliberate intent to violate the Constitution which makes it culpable,” he said in a press conference before the filing of the impeachment complaint.

By filing the complaint, Youth Act Now National Convenor and lead complainant Victor Villanueva said they are giving President Aquino and the public the “opportunity to present all sides of this large-scale theft of public funds.”

“As we know, Aquino enjoys presidential immunity from suit. Initiating the impeachment process is our only constitutional recourse to stop the President’s self-absorbed and arrogant administration from further violating the Constitution,” he said.

DAP FOR ‘HACIENDA’?

For his part, Anakbayan national chairman Vencer Crisostomo, one of the complainants, said the DAP was used by the President “to pursue his personal interest, and the best example would be the compensation of his clan in Hacienda Luisita.”

“Even if the Pork Barrel King Aquino manages to mobilize his pork gang in blocking the impeachment, this would not stop the people’s demand of ousting Aquino,” he said.

Charlotte Velasco, national spokesperson of the League of Filipino Students, agreed with fellow complainants, saying that the filing of the ouster complaint is “one step to making the Aquino regime accountable for committing tyrannical offenses such as corruption while ruthlessly exacerbating the misery of the people.”

Ridon said the President should not block his impeachment by bribing legislators in both chambers of Congress.

“Aquino shouldn’t try to bribe the House and the Senate again. He should respect the constitutional process. If he can’t stand the heat of the impeachment, and if he has any sliver of delicadeza left, he should know what to do,” he said, as he rejected Malacanang’s claim that the ouster complaint is premature.

Ilagan and De Jesus, who signed as endorsers of the other complaint, said the new impeachment case will be filed Thursday by representatives from various sectors as well as individuals who were also among the petitioners that questioned the legality of the EDCA at the Supreme Court.

They pointed out that EDCA violates constitutional provisions that ban the presence of foreign troops and bases and the use and entry of nuclear weapons in the country. (With a report from Leslie Ann G. Aquino)

FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

Admin ally accuses SC of double-standards on PDAF, DAP decisions By,XIANNE ARCANGEL, GMA NewsJuly 22, 2014 10:44pm 5 26 0 43 Tags: Supreme Court


Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali

For striking down the executive branch's Disbursement Acceleration Program and the legislative’s Priority Development Assistance Fund, declaring both unconstitutional, an administration ally in the House of Representatives on Tuesday criticized the Supreme Court for having “double standards” since it continued to implement the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF).

“We have a situation where the highest court, the learned lawyers and justices of this country are practicing a double standard of justice. Ang PDAF ng House, which has the power of the purse, sabi nila unconstitutional. The DAP of the executive was also declared unconstitutional. But they have a JDF na hindi dumadaan sa Kongreso at hindi naa-account sa Bureau of Treasury,” Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali said in a press briefing.

Umali added that the Supreme Court was “closing its eyes to its own anomalies.”

“The SC says what the legislative and executive did [with the PDAF and DAP] was unconstitutional. But when it comes to the JDF, we don’t even know how it was used,” the lawmaker said.

Two bills seeking to give Congress some control over the JDF were filed in the House recently following the Supreme Court’s adverse decision on the DAP last July 1.

House Bill 4690, filed by Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas seeks to amend certain provisions in the Martial Law-era Presidential Decree 1949 that established the JDF so Congress can monitor the remittance, allocation, disbursement and audit of the JDF.

HB 4738 filed by Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr., meanwhile, seeks to abolish PD 1949 entirely and replace the JDF with the Judicial Support Fund (JSF). This fund, which will be deposited with the National Treasury, will only be released to the SC after the judiciary has submitted an itemized special budget detailing where the funds will be spent.

* Tupas said some of his colleagues have made known their intent to co-author the two proposals.

The House Justice Committee, meanwhile, hoped that the judiciary would cooperate with lawmakers and participate in committee hearings on the bills once Congress resumes session on July 28.

Several lawmakers have already called on the Commission on Audit to conduct a special audit of the JDF for Congress to know how the funds were spent. Another Aquino ally, Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr., said the judiciary ought to open its books “in the spirit of transparency and accountability” since it demands the same from the legislative and executive branches.

However, SC spokesperson Theodore Te had said that the Supreme Court has been open about its use of the JDF and the Special Allowances for the Judiciary (SAJ) since 2012 by uploading quarterly reports on them through the SC website. — DVM, GMA News

FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

ALSO: DAP ruling not yet final – SC by Rey G. Panaligan July 23, 2014

The Supreme Court’s (SC) decision that declared unconstitutional several acts and practices in the implementation of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) by the Office of the President (OP) is not yet final and executory.

After yesterday’s full court session, the SC required the petitioners against DAP to comment in 10 days on the motion for reconsideration filed by the OP. The OP team is led by Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza and retired SC Justice Vicente Mendoza.

A copy of the SC resolution requiring comment on the motion was not immediately available. But the SC’s action on the motion was confirmed by SC Spokesperson Theodore O. Te.

The OP is expected to submit its reply after receipt of the comment. The process would further stall the final outcome of the SC decision on DAP made July 1, 2014.

OP MOTION

In its 52-page motion, the OP told the SC that “the DAP, an economic stimulus facility designed to accelerate public spending, should be afforded the presumption of constitutionality and good faith.”

“The President and his alter egos, in implementing a decidedly successful program, deserve to be afforded the traditional constitutional presumptions that apply to most other forms of public actions, especially the presumption of good faith,” the OP said in its motion.

SC RULING

* In a 13-0 vote, the SC had ruled that the acts and practices under the DAP violated the constitutional doctrine of separation of powers and the provision prohibiting inter-branch transfer of appropriations.

Specifically, the SC struck down the following:

1. The withdrawal of unobligated allotments from implementing agencies and their use as savings prior to end of fiscal year.

2. The cross-border transfers of savings of the Executive Branch to augment funds of agencies outside the department.

3. Funding of projects and programs not covered by the General Appropriations Act (GAA).

The SC also voided the use of unprogrammed funds despite the absence of a certification by the national treasurer that the revenue collections exceeded the revenue targets for non-compliance with conditions in the GAA.

Its ruling on DAP also applied to National Budget Circular No. 541 and related executive issuances.

OFFICIALS MAY BE LIABLE

The SC decision also declared that executive officials may be held liable for the funds under the DAP.

It cited the doctrine of operative fact, which recognizes the validity of the assailed law or action prior to the determination of its unconstitutionality as an operative fact that produced consequences that cannot always be erased, ignored or disregarded.

“The doctrine of operative fact can apply only to the programs, activities, and projects that can no longer be undone, and whose beneficiaries relied in good faith on the validity of the DAP, but cannot apply to the authors, proponents, and implementors of the DAP, unless there are concrete findings of good faith in their favor by the proper tribunals determining their criminal, civil, administrative and other liabilities,” the SC decision stated.

MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION

In a live television address, the President criticized the SC for its DAP decision. He announced that his office would file a motion for reconsideration.

Despite the criticism, however, SC justices led by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno did not air any comment.

In the motion for reconsideration, the government specifically asked the SC to declare:

1. “Withdrawn obligated allotments and unreleased appropriations under the DAP are savings.

2. “Cross-border transfers under the DAP are constitutional.

3. “The President augmented items with appropriation cover under the DAP.

4. “The use of the Unprogrammed Fund under the DAP complied with the conditions provided in the relevant General Appropriations Acts (GAAs).

5. “Regardless of the nullification of certain acts and practices under the DAP and/or National Budget Circular No. 541, the operative fact doctrine does not operate to impute bad faith to authors, proponents and implementers who continue to enjoy the presumption of innocence and regularity in the performance of official functions and duties.”

FROM THE TRIBUNE

DAP used but not its funds for landowners, claims Abad Written by Paul Atienza Wednesday, 23 July 2014 00:00


ABAD

The brains of the discredited Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) Budget Secretary Florencio Abad insisted yesterday that no DAP funds were used to compensate landowners including the family of President Aquino who owns the sprawling Hacienda Luisita estate in Tarlac despite an item on it in the DAP projects list that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released recently.

“All we did was release the Notice for Cash Allocation (NCA) for the CARP so the funds could be released to the proper beneficiaries,” Abad said.

Abad said the DBM “wanted to expedite the release of these funds so we could quickly turn over the land due our farmers”.

“The DAP allowed us to do precisely that, so that Hacienda Luisita farmers could finally own the land they’ve worked on for so long,” Abad said.

The P5.4 billion in agrarian reform funds funded through the DAP to pay landowners including the Cojuangco-Aquino clan of the President, was the basis of the first impeachment complaint filed against Aquino last Monday.

Abad said in a statement the funds released to compensate landowners which totaled to P7.93 billion came from the national budget of 2010 and 2011, and “not through the DAP, as alleged by Mariano,” even as Abad also admitted that the DAP funds were used for that purpose.

* In item 24 of the List of DAP-identified projects released by the DBM, it clearly stated “DAR: Landowners’ Compensation” under the row of proposed projects. On the description table it was stated that “5.46B indicated in the memo to the President but only indicated as cash release that is not included in the 72.110B proposed funding.”

In the subsequent remark on the item, it was stated that “the cash requirement was released on Oct. 4, 2011 to beef up disbursement alongside disbursements under DAP.”

Former Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said “disbursement (for landowners’ compensation) is usually done through the Landbank (a state-owned bank) but funded by the national government.”

“Part of DAP was used for landowners compensation via Landbank,” he said.

“The KMP is making a factual error in their impeachment complaint. The funds that they’re referring to were already part of the Department of Agrarian Reform’s (DAR) 2010 and 2011 budgets for the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). These allotments were not released through the DAP, nor were they augmentations to the DAP’s budget for CARP,” Abad said.

He claimed DBM records showed that P3.97 billion was allocated for the CARP (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program) under the DAR (Department of Agrarian Reform) in the 2010 national budget, for which a SARO (special allotment release order) was released last June 4, 2010.

Abad added that on Oct. 4, 2011, another P3.97 billion was released to DAR for that year’s implementation of the CARP.
Abad said that:”If you check the list we uploaded on the website, you’ll see that item no. 24, or ‘DAR: Landowners’ Compensation’ does not specify an amount for proposed funding”.

Abad said the “fields for ‘Allotment Releases’ and ‘Balance’ for landowners’ compensation are also blank”.

Abad said the DBM is now preparing a more detailed list of projects funded through the DAP.

“The new list will distinguish legislator-backed projects from those housed under government departments and agencies, local government units, and government owned or controlled corporations,” Abad said.

Petitioners who successfully challenged the legality of Malacañang’s pork barrel otherwise known as Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) have also been asked yesterday by the Supreme Court (SC) to comment on the government’s appeal for a reconsideration of the tribunal’s ruling declaring unconstitutional Palace acts that created the DAP.

Last week, the SC magistrates were threatened by the President with outright removal from office in a televised national address where he lambasted their unanimous decision on DAP.

Nine groups of petitioners in the case were asked to file their comments namely former Manila Councilor Greco Belgica, former Iloilo Rep. Augusto Syjuco, lawyers Jose Malvar Villegas Jr. and Manuelito Luna; Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa); Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP); the militant Bayan Muna, Kabataan and Gabriela party-list groups; Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage); and the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption.

SC spokesman Theodore Te said they are given 10 days from receipt of notice to comply with the order and file their respective answers.

Under court rules theTribunal may turn down a motion for reconsideration , especially when the parties appealing failed to raise new arguments or if the assailed decision had unanimous approval of the justices.

Lawmakers are also demanding that Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Director Alan Purisima to account for the P32.4 billion his office got from the illegal DAP.

The solons made known their demand as they warned Purisima that his failure to comply would possibly result in the filing of plunder charges against him.

According to Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate, one of those who endorsed the impeachment complaint against Aquino which militant groups filed Monday, it is only proper that Purisima be made to account for the fund illegally concocted by the administration that he has received up to its last centavo.

“The PNP and for that matter all agencies that became beneficiaries of DAP must be made accountable for every centavo of people’s money they received,” said Zarate.

The solon also called on the Commission on Audit (CoA) to conduct a special audit on the projects funded by DAP.
Think tank Ibon, meanwhile, said the P30 billion from the DAP given to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) must be scrutinized as items such as the Central Bank’s recapitalization remain dubious.

The P30 billion was listed as equity infusion to the BSP’s authorized capital stock that was approved by the Office of the President in two tranches: P10 billion on Oct. 12, 2011 and P20 billion on Dec. 21, 2012.

Ibon said that this DAP item was described in the second tranche “to strengthen and sustain BSP’s mandate of ensuring monetary and fiscal stability [and to] enhance delivery of credit [to] micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs)”.

“This gives the impression that a substantial part of the P30 billion will go to supporting MSMEs which supports the administration’s justification for the DAP,” Ibon said.

Ibon, however, said the 2011, 2012 and 2013 BSP annual reports said that just 131 MSME loan applications of which an aggregate of only P31 million were approved. Benjamin B. Pulta, Charlie V. Manalo

FROM PHILSTAR

Can’t let go SKETCHES By Ana Marie Pamintuan (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 21, 2014 - 12:00am 2 12 googleplus1 0


By Ana Marie Pamintuan

From the flood of official statements in the past days, it looks like there are marching orders all the way from the top for all government agencies to trumpet the projects funded through the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

The announcements are unlikely to sway the Supreme Court (SC) to change its unanimous ruling against the DAP. And it doesn’t look like the press releases will sway public opinion in favor of Malacañang’s position on the stimulus program.

If the reason for the official praises for the program is to make people blame the SC for the scrapping of DAP-funded projects, the Palace should rethink its tack. I’ve talked to several beneficiaries of the DAP and their sentiment is that with the program declared unconstitutional, Malacañang should just find other ways of continuing the funding for worthy projects.

After all, President Aquino, in his recent address to the nation, reassured DAP beneficiaries that he would ask Congress for a supplemental budget to sustain the projects, including scholarships.

People knew from the start that the DAP was for development projects that benefited the nation. If we go along with this defense, lawmakers can also argue that their constituents benefited from their pork barrel, even if they are accused of skimming funds funneled through bogus non-government organizations or getting kickbacks from pork-funded projects they selected at their full discretion.

I haven’t heard anyone accuse P-Noy of pocketing funds from the DAP despite the wide discretion he exercised in its utilization, so yes, people are aware of the difference between the DAP and PDAF, or the Priority Development Assistance Fund.

What the Supreme Court struck down are the provisions on impounding “savings” before the fiscal year is over, and the manner of realigning such savings.

Sen. Jinggoy Estrada struck the first blow when he disclosed that the DAP was used seemingly as a reward to lawmakers for voting to kick out Renato Corona as chief justice.

The senators were hurting from the loss of their annual P200 million individual pork barrel and of being accused of large-scale corruption. Senator Jinggoy didn’t get mad, he got even.

* * *

With the loss of the DAP, the Palace is also mad, and trying to get even.

In the appeal of the SC ruling, filed as promised last week, Malacañang has tried to turn the tables on the high court, notably P-Noy appointee Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno (et tu…?) and Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio. The government argued that both justices had also realigned judiciary funds outside the intended and allowed purposes, and the executive looked the other way.

Since the projects questioned involved the construction of offices for the judiciary, however, they are not generating what the Palace probably hoped would be the same level of criticism that greeted the DAP.

This is not to say that the executive and legislative branches should not push for transparency and accountability in judiciary funds.

Transparency in judicial funds has been pushed by media groups and other organizations for a long time, with the effort intensifying when Corona was doomed by inaccuracies in his official asset statement. If a probe will lead to reforms in the utilization of judicial funds, by all means the probe should be conducted.

As in the DAP and the impounding and realignment of savings, it won’t be enough to argue that justices and judges are simply continuing what has been practiced long before they assumed their positions.

* Retired Armed Forces chiefs gave the same argument in defending military fund realignments and their fat “going-away” retirement presents. The flawed systems were scrapped anyway, several of the retired officers were accused of corruption and one of them committed suicide.

That’s the essence of the SC ruling: the DAP was flawed, although what it has funded won’t be undone, but now the program has to stop.

* * *

Malacañang has reaped mostly ugly speculation over its anguished reluctance to let go of DAP.

The daily release of statements by different government agencies on DAP-funded projects can also backfire.

Yesterday the opposition reacted to the announcement that P10 billion was allocated through DAP to the Department of the Interior and Local Government for the clearing of clogged rivers and creeks, clearing of squatters from those waterways and their relocation to new homes. The opposition noted that the DILG has a regular budget item for preventing squatting. The provision of low-cost housing, meanwhile, is supposed to be under Vice President Jejomar Binay while dredging of waterways is a flood control project assigned to the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Metro Manila Development Authority. Why does the DILG get an additional P10 billion?

Such questions reinforce speculation that the administration needs the DAP – or its spinoff that is expected to be built into the 2015 budget – to boost the chances of whoever P-Noy endorses as his successor in 2016. As of yesterday it was still DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, who announced the P10-billion DAP funding for his department for squatter relocation and flood control.

The administration party needs funds as its presumptive standard-bearer in 2016 fails to improve in the surveys. The latest Pulse Asia poll not only showed Roxas trailing Binay by a wide margin, but also that given a choice between Roxas and Sen. Grace Poe for P-Noy’s endorsement in 2016, the respondents preferred Poe.

Whoever becomes P-Noy’s “anointed” for the 2016 race, a discretionary funding program like the DAP would be hugely useful for the administration party.

With P-Noy needing to be dragged kicking and screaming away from the DAP, people who understand the complex budget process should look out for a reincarnation of the program in next year’s general appropriation.

This battle is far from over.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2014 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved


PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE