DAP UNCONSTITUTIONAL

JULY 2 --THE Supreme Court on Tuesday declared several actions taken under President Aquino’s Disbursement Acceleration Program unconstitutional, saying they violated the doctrine of separation of powers. Voting 13-0, the justices ruled that the respondents, led by President Beningo Aquino III, violated Article IV, Section 25 (5) of the Constitution and voided the use of unprogrammed funds by the Executive branch, Court spokesman Theodore Te said. Article VI, Section 25 (5) of the Constitution authorizes the President and heads of other branches of government and constitutional commissions to augment any item in General Appropriations Act for their respective offices from savings in other items of their respective appropriations. The Court cited three specific acts of the President and his co-respondents as being unconstitutional: “The withdrawal of unobligated allotments from the implementing agencies, and the declaration of the withdrawn unobligated allotments and unreleased appropriations as savings prior to the end of the fiscal year and without complying with the statutory definition of savings contained in the GAA; the cross-border transfers of the savings of the Executive to augment the appropriations of other offices outside the Executive; and the funding of projects, activities and programs that were not covered by any appropriation in the GAA.” Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin wrote the decision, while Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro inhibited herself from the case. * READ MORE...

(ALSO) Palace on DAP: No criminality, no wrongdoing, no regrets

JULY 2 --The Supreme Court has declared parts of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) unconstitutional but this does not mean that the implementation of the fund scheme was a criminal act, Malacañang said on Wednesday. Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said there was nothing "inherently" wrong with realigning government funds intended for slow-moving projects to other programs. "You seem to equate unconstitutionality with criminality. Those are two different things," Lacierda told reporters in a press briefing. "When you speak of unconstitutionality, it does not immediately equate to wrongdoing," he also said. Lacierda cited the decisions of the Supreme Court declaring the Aquino administration's Truth Commission and parts of the Reproductive Health law as unconstitutional. He pointed out that nobody filed a criminal case. The Palace official also said that the Aquino administration has no regrets over the DAP because it "acted in good faith" and that the money used through the fund scheme went to its intended purpose. He said government agencies reaped benefits through the DAP such as the Doppler radar system and the Project NOAH of the Department of Science and Technology. * READ MORE...

(ALSO) Miriam disagrees: PNoy can be impeached over DAP but case will fail

JULY 2 --President Benigno Aquino III can definitely be impeached over the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago said on Wednesday. In a televised press briefing, Santiago said she will not blame those who would attempt to pursue Aquino's impeachment after parts of the controversial DAP were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday. She said Aquino committed culpable violation of the Constitution and violation of the principles of accountability and responsibility. "Theoretically, yes it is (possible for Aquino to be impeached), because it will be a violation of the Constitution, as the Supreme Court already said," Santiago said. But the senator reiterated her stand last year that an impeachment case against Aquino will not succeed since both houses of Congress are dominated by the President's allies. "I think it is bound to fail," Santiago said. Following the high court's decision on the DAP, Kabataan Partylist Representative Terry Ridon said they will prepare all necessary charges against officials involved in the implementation of the controversial fund scheme. Ridon said the SC ruling could be used as a "solid ground" for culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust, both of which are impeachable offenses. * READ MORE...

ALSO: DAP mostly used as solons’ ‘extra pork’

JULY 2 --The Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) which the Supreme Court (SC) declared unconstitutional for many of its provisions that violated the doctrine of separation of powers had accumulated a pool of P150 billion during the three years, or from 2011 to 2013, of the program which was intended supposedly to stimulate economic growth. A “sanitized” version of the DAP disbursements from 2011 to 2013 was obtained by The Tribune that according to a source was a cleaned-up copy as a previous version was littered with asterisks indicating that an activity previously bankrolled by DAP has been taken from the master list “upon orders of the OSEC” which was probably from the office of Budget Secretary Florencio Abad. As to project category, some P11 billion was released to the National Housing Authority, funds that went to legislators reached P15.1 billion, representing 10 percent of the total.
A source said the amount that went to legislators could be higher as it does not include the amounts which were funneled, or laundered would be a more precise term, to implementing agencies as their incentive for voting to impeach former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona. In September last year, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada exposed during a privilege speech the distribution of P50 million to each senator judge who voted to convict Corona during his trial in the Senate impeachment court. The P50 million was described by Estrada as an “incentive” to senators which later on, Abad himself confirmed to have been sourced by the Palace from the DAP. Abad claimed that the Palace tapped legislators to speed up government spending through projects taken from the DAP. . * READ MORE...

ALSO: Public discontent grows on Aquino — Ibon polls

JULY 2 --More Filipinos have expressed dissatisfaction with the performance of President Aquino based on an April survey undertaken by thinktank Ibon with 47 percent giving Aquino and unsatisfactory rating against 36 percent expressing satisfaction. The latest results com-pared with 39 percent giving Aquino a satis-factory grade against 43 percent unsatisfied in a similar survey undertaken a year ago. The question asked was “What can you say about Pres. Benigno Aquino III’s performance as President of the Philippines these past four years? According to the nationwide survey conducted by the research group, 46.9 percent of respondents said that in the past three months, they did not find Aquino’s performance satisfactory. The results were unchanged from the January 2014 survey round. Compared to the October 2013 round, the results were higher by almost four percentage points. Meanwhile, the share of respondents who found Aquino’s performance satisfactory was 36 percent in April 2014, which was a slight decrease from the results in January 2014 of 37.5 percent and in October 2013 of 39 percent. The survey was conducted from April 24 to 30 among 1,500 respondents 18 years and above. The survey used a multi-stage probability sampling scheme and has a margin of error of plus or minus three percent. It was a non-commissioned survey conducted across various sectors in 16 regions. Aquino, however, told reporters following the 67th Anniversary of the Philippine Air Force at the Air Force City, Clark Air Base, Pampanga that his administration accomplished a lot within his four years as president. * READ MORE...

(ALSO) What Went Before: The discovery of DAP

JULY 2 - PHOTO: DAP WHISTLEBLOWER SEN. JINGGOY ESTRADA--In September last year, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, in a privilege speech entitled “The Untold PDAF Story that the People Should Know,” said that congressmen were “rewarded, bribed” and given “additionals” by the Aquino administration to get its way in Congress. Estrada said that after the conviction in May 2012 of Chief Justice Renato Corona, 20 senators received at least P50 million in additional lump-sum allocations under their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), or the congressional pork barrel.Estrada suggested that the bonuses were an “incentive” for the senators’ vote ousting Corona for dishonesty in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth. Budget Secretary Florencio Abad later confirmed the release of P1.107 billion to 20 senators but pointed out that the funds came from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). The DAP is a mechanism designed by the Aquino administration in 2011 ostensibly to accelerate spending on projects and boost the country’s economic growth. The program was conceptualized in September 2011 and was approved by President Aquino the following month upon the recommendation of the Development Budget Coordination Committee and the Cabinet clusters. Little was publicly known of the facility, until Estrada’s disclosure.
According to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the DAP was created in view of the prevailing underspending in government disbursements for the first eight months of 2011. 9 petitions vs DAP
Critics said the DAP was unconstitutional and another form of pork barrel. At least nine petitions against DAP were filed in the Supreme Court last year.* READ MORE...


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DAP unconstitutional


Decision day. Protesters are shown picketing before the Supreme Court on Tuesday while waiting for its ruling on the legality of the Disbursement Acceleration Program. The high court later ruled that
the DAP was unconstitutional. Danny Pata

MANILA, JULY 6, 2014 (MANILA STANDARD) Rey E. Requejo, Joyce P. Pañares, Macon R. Araneta & Maricel V. Cruz - THE Supreme Court on Tuesday declared several actions taken under President Aquino’s Disbursement Acceleration Program unconstitutional, saying they violated the doctrine of separation of powers.

Voting 13-0, the justices ruled that the respondents, led by President Beningo Aquino III, violated Article IV, Section 25 (5) of the Constitution and voided the use of unprogrammed funds by the Executive branch, Court spokesman Theodore Te said.

Article VI, Section 25 (5) of the Constitution authorizes the President and heads of other branches of government and constitutional commissions to augment any item in General Appropriations Act for their respective offices from savings in other items of their respective appropriations.

The Court cited three specific acts of the President and his co-respondents as being unconstitutional:

“The withdrawal of unobligated allotments from the implementing agencies, and the declaration of the withdrawn unobligated allotments and unreleased appropriations as savings prior to the end of the fiscal year and without complying with the statutory definition of savings contained in the GAA; the cross-border transfers of the savings of the Executive to augment the appropriations of other offices outside the Executive; and the funding of projects, activities and programs that were not covered by any appropriation in the GAA.”

Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin wrote the decision, while Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro inhibited herself from the case.

* Although Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco was not present during the voting, he left his vote with Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno.

“Subject to the views expressed by some justices in their separate opinions, the Court en banc voting unanimously... partially granted the petitions for certiorari and prohibition challenging the Disbursement Acceleration Program,” Te said.

In particular, the Court declared acts under the DAP, National Budget Circular No. 541 and related executive issuances as unconstitutional.

The Court’s decision came after nine petitions challenging the DAP were filed last year by losing senatorial candidate Greco Belgica, former Iloilo Rep. Augusto Syjuco, lawyers Jose Malvar Villegas Jr. and ManuelitoLuna; the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa); Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Bayan Muna, Kabataan and Gabriela party-list groups; Confederation for Unity, Recognition and

Advancement of Government Employees; and the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption.

The case was heard in three-part oral arguments last January and February.

Malacanang through Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza defended the legality of the DAP, describing it as a mechanism of public expenditure designed to speed up public spending for priority programs, activities and projects with the use of savings and unprogrammed funds.

Jardeleza said there is no law required for the creation of DAP since the President has the constitutional authority to create policies in the execution of laws.

But the petitioners alleged that the discretionary fund of the President violates the exclusive power of Congress to appropriate funds—just like the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel.

They said the use of the DAP violated Section 29 (1), Article VI of the Constitution, which requires that “no money shall be paid out of the Treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation made by law.”

They also argued that the Constitution prohibits transfer of funds between branches of government without necessary law.

They cited Section 24, Article XXV and Section 25, Article VI of the Constitution in questioning the legality of DAP.

The first provision gives Congress exclusive “power of the purse” while the second requires a law in transferring appropriations from one government branch to another.

Petitioners also argued that the Constitution restricts augmentation of budgets of offices of the President, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and the heads of Constitutional Commissions by their respective savings.

Aside from the President, also named respondents in the petitions were Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa and the Senate and House of Representatives.

Malacañang declined to comment on the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision declaring several acts under the Disbursement Acceleration Program as unconstitutional.

“We will defer comment until we’ve read the full text of the decision,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said.

Valte said the Palace will leave it up to the Office of the Solicitor General to determine whether to file a motion for reconsideration.

Earlier, the Palace said it will abide by whatever decision the Supreme Court may reach on the issue of the legality of the DAP, through which the administration disbursed P137.3 billion.

Of the total DAP funds that were used for 116 projects, 9 percent or about P12.357 billion went to lawmakers.

Philconsa officials led by its president Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and chairman Manuel M. Lazaro hailed the decision of the Supreme Court.

Romualdez said it was now the duty of the Justice Department and the National Bureau of Investigation, with the help of the Integrated Bar of the Philippine, to gather and secure all documents related to the disbursement of DAP funds, and investigate the people who caused their approval in preparation for the filing of criminal charges.

The government should exert all efforts to recover the funds as this will be a windfall recovery of funds that may be used forthe benefit of the people, Philconsa said.

Senator Francis Escudero said the Supreme Court ruling would have far-reaching consequences and effects on government budgeting and disbursement processes.

Detained Senator Jinggoy Estrada, who first exposed the existence of the DAP last year, said heads must roll and budget officials must be held accountable for the illegal disbursement of funds.

“On its face, DAP is unconstitutional. It really has no basis and it’s ...nowhere to be found in the General Appropriations Act. I thank the Supreme Court for respecting and upholding the Congress’ exclusive power of the purse,” he said.

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago renewed her call to the Commission on Audit to investigate the alleged bribery of lawmakers using DAP funds to ensure the conviction of former Chief Justice Renato Corona during his impeachment trial.

She said all those involved in bribing senators and congressmen using DAP funds, and those who got the bribe at the height of Corona’s impeachment trial should be investigated.

She mentioned in particular Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, who was behind the DAP.

“Both the pork barrel and DAP scandals are equally repulsive, and the Supreme Court declared both funds as unconstitutional. I wholeheartedly welcome the impartial adjudication of these abominable abuses of public funds by the Supreme Court since I cannot obtain relief from the Senate itself, which appeared to have been complicit in bribery,” she said.

With the Court decision, the left-wing bloc in the House demanded that President Aquino III and Abad be held accountable for inventing the DAP and abusing the program.

At the same time, one of the group’s members, Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon threatened to file an impeachment case against President Aquino.

“We have always been certain on the unconstitutionality of the DAP. We will be readying all necessary charges against officials involved in its implementation. But more important is that this constitutes the impeachable offense of culpable violation of the constitution and betrayal of public trust,” Ridon said, just moments after the release of the decision.

Apart from being one of the petitioners iagainst the DAP, Ridon also filed House Resolution 359 last October which urges the House committee on appropriation and the committee on good government and public accountability to investigate the DAP.

Ridon said he was unfazed by the dominance of Aquino’s allies in the House and the Senate.

“It is a daunting task, but we are prepared to fight,” Ridon said.

Ridon added that Abad can also be charged with malversation of public funds “at the bare minimum.”

“Abad clearly committed malversation in crafting and implementing the multi-billion-peso DAP. We will file the appropriate charges against him at the soonest,” the party-list lawmaker said.

“The Filipino people need to make this arrogant administration accountable for implementing an illegal scheme that only served to further the administration’s political motives and perpetuate political patronage in government. To succeed, the Filipino people must stand united in the fight,” Ridon said.

The DAP came under fire last year after several senators revealed that funds were used as “incentives” for legislators who supported the impeachment of Corona in 2012.

Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate said the Court decision was “just a partial victory of the people against the pork barrel system.”

“As we have orally argued before the High Court, DAP is a form of budgetary dictatorship of the Aquino administration that run afoul with the letter and spirit of the Constitution,” Zarate told the Manila Standard.

Zarate added: “DAP exposes the hypocrisy of the Aquino administration’s hallow, selective and even deceptive anti-corruption campaign.”

An administration ally, Ako-Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe, said the Court’s decision should be respected.

“While it may limit the discretion of the executive, it may nonetheless affect adversely the absorptive capacity of executive agencies,”Batocabe said.

Paranaque Rep. Gus Tambunting, member of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), also welcomed the SC decision against DAP.

“I am in favor of the Supreme Court’s opinion that the DAP was not a practice in accordance with the law. Nothing in the legislated budget by Congress authorized it,” Tambunting said. “The very fact the administration stopped its implementation showed even they realized there was something wrong with it,” he added.

FROM PHILSTAR

Palace on DAP: No criminality, no wrongdoing, no regrets By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated July 2, 2014 - 5:07pm


Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda during a Palace press briefing. Willy Perez

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court has declared parts of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) unconstitutional but this does not mean that the implementation of the fund scheme was a criminal act, Malacañang said on Wednesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said there was nothing "inherently" wrong with realigning government funds intended for slow-moving projects to other programs.

"You seem to equate unconstitutionality with criminality. Those are two different things," Lacierda told reporters in a press briefing.

"When you speak of unconstitutionality, it does not immediately equate to wrongdoing," he also said.

Lacierda cited the decisions of the Supreme Court declaring the Aquino administration's Truth Commission and parts of the Reproductive Health law as unconstitutional.

He pointed out that nobody filed a criminal case.

The Palace official also said that the Aquino administration has no regrets over the DAP because it "acted in good faith" and that the money used through the fund scheme went to its intended purpose.

He said government agencies reaped benefits through the DAP such as the Doppler radar system and the Project NOAH of the Department of Science and Technology.

"Do those projects diminish the moral integrity of the President, when they have benefited the people? Essentially, our continued belief is that the DAP has benefited the people in a number of projects that we have done," Lacierda said.

"How does one regret a decision to help thousands of people?" the Palace official asked.

Lacierda also said they have no concerns that the DAP controversy may lead to a People Power Revolution that would lead to the ouster of President Aquino.

The Aquino administration introduced the DAP in 2011 to help boost the economy.

After a high court decision yesterday, some camps have called for the impeachment of Aquino, saying the President committed culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust.

Miriam disagrees

In a press conference earlier today, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago expressed a different view and called for the filing of criminal and civil cases against officials involved in the DAP program.

She said the fund scheme is a form of thievery.

"In effect, it is saying as long as you're in good faith, you can violate what the constitution prohibits," Santiago said in a televised press conference. "The Ombudsman, in cooperation with thejustice, should file a criminal case against each person because that's a crime."

"The Constitution says you cannot do that and then you went ahead and did it and now you have nothing to answer for," she added.

Miriam disagrees: PNoy can be impeached over DAP but case will fail By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated July 2, 2014 - 2:12pm


SENATOR MIRIAM SANTIAGO

MANILA, Philippines — President Benigno Aquino III can definitely be impeached over the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago said on Wednesday.

In a televised press briefing, Santiago said she will not blame those who would attempt to pursue Aquino's impeachment after parts of the controversial DAP were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday.

She said Aquino committed culpable violation of the Constitution and violation of the principles of accountability and responsibility.

"Theoretically, yes it is (possible for Aquino to be impeached), because it will be a violation of the Constitution, as the Supreme Court already said," Santiago said.

But the senator reiterated her stand last year that an impeachment case against Aquino will not succeed since both houses of Congress are dominated by the President's allies.

"I think it is bound to fail," Santiago said.

Following the high court's decision on the DAP, Kabataan Partylist Representative Terry Ridon said they will prepare all necessary charges against officials involved in the implementation of the controversial fund scheme.

Ridon said the SC ruling could be used as a "solid ground" for culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust, both of which are impeachable offenses.

"It will greatly bolster the case against President Aquino," said Ridon, one of the petitioners in the high court against the DAP.

Introduced by the Aquino administration in 2011 to supposedly boost the economy, the DAP realigns government savings from stalled projects to speed up other programs.

After earning criticisms last year, President Aquino himself defended the fund scheme in a rare speech on primetime television.

"The DAP is not theft. Theft is illegal. Spending through DAP is clearly allowed by the Constitution and by other laws. DAP is only a name for a process in which government can spend both savings and new and additional revenues," Aquino said in his speech in October 2013.

FROM THE TRIBUNE

DAP mostly used as solons’ ‘extra pork’
Written by Tribune Wednesday, 02 July 2014 00:00



The Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) which the Supreme Court (SC) declared unconstitutional for many of its provisions that violated the doctrine of separation of powers had accumulated a pool of P150 billion during the three years, or from 2011 to 2013, of the program which was intended supposedly to stimulate economic growth.

A “sanitized” version of the DAP disbursements from 2011 to 2013 was obtained by The Tribune that according to a source was a cleaned-up copy as a previous version was littered with asterisks indicating that an activity previously bankrolled by DAP has been taken from the master list “upon orders of the OSEC” which was probably from the office of Budget Secretary Florencio Abad.

As to project category, some P11 billion was released to the National Housing Authority, funds that went to legislators reached P15.1 billion, representing 10 percent of the total.

A source said the amount that went to legislators could be higher as it does not include the amounts which were funneled, or laundered would be a more precise term, to implementing agencies as their incentive for voting to impeach former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona.

In September last year, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada exposed during a privilege speech the distribution of P50 million to each senator judge who voted to convict Corona during his trial in the Senate impeachment court.

The P50 million was described by Estrada as an “incentive” to senators which later on, Abad himself confirmed to have been sourced by the Palace from the DAP.

Abad claimed that the Palace tapped legislators to speed up government spending through projects taken from the DAP.

* An example of the such incentives was the P200 million plus supposedly released to the National Dairy Administration for milk-feeding and milk-procurement programs, which the legislators reportedly got not in lactose form but in cash.

Of the amount that went to lawmakers, bulk of the releases was in the form of financial assistance to local government units (LGUs) that totaled Pll.9 billion.

Included in this listing is the controversial P475 million released to six senators in December 2011 when Corona was in trial.

The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), the conduit for three of the senators, returned the Special Allotment Release Orders (SAROs) issued by Department of Budget and Management (DBM), citing absorptive capacity issues and its self-imposed moratorium in implementing legislator-identified pork projects after learning the forensics of the P900-million Malampaya scam.

Undeterred by DAR’s rebuff, Abad in effect replaced the rejected SAROs by issuing a different set, this time to the National Livelihood Development Corp. (NLDC) for four senators in the amount of P370 million in March 2012.

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPPAP) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) also got a combined P4.5 billion from the DAP, the records showed.

A large chunk of the DAP funds that DSWD got was in legislators’ pork, which entered DSWD’s books as funding for the “financial assistance” component of its CIDSS (Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services) program.

Under the arrangement, the DSWD serves as clearing house for the release of “cash assistance” to individuals identified by lawmakers. While, without doubt, this program benefited the bonafide destitute, it was, however, milked by many legislators who would dispatch their “leaders” to obtain the cash assistance. The nominees of the legislators would easily fail the indigency test in a fair evaluation, to claim assistance.

Public discontent grows on Aquino — Ibon polls Written by Tribune Wednesday, 02 July 2014 00:00

More Filipinos have expressed dissatisfaction with the performance of President Aquino based on an April survey undertaken by thinktank Ibon with 47 percent giving Aquino and unsatisfactory rating against 36 percent expressing satisfaction.

The latest results com-pared with 39 percent giving Aquino a satis-factory grade against 43 percent unsatisfied in a similar survey undertaken a year ago.
 
The question asked was “What can you say about Pres. Benigno Aquino III’s performance as President of the Philippines these past four years?

According to the nationwide survey conducted by the research group, 46.9 percent of respondents said that in the past three months, they did not find Aquino’s performance satisfactory. The results were unchanged from the January 2014 survey round.

Compared to the October 2013 round, the results were higher by almost four percentage points.

Meanwhile, the share of respondents who found Aquino’s performance satisfactory was 36 percent in April 2014, which was a slight decrease from the results in January 2014 of 37.5 percent and in October 2013 of 39 percent.

The survey was conducted from April 24 to 30 among 1,500 respondents 18 years and above. The survey used a multi-stage probability sampling scheme and has a margin of error of plus or minus three percent. It was a non-commissioned survey conducted across various sectors in 16 regions.

Aquino, however, told reporters following the 67th Anniversary of the Philippine Air Force at the Air Force City, Clark Air Base, Pampanga that his administration accomplished a lot within his four years as president.

“In 2011 for instance, the budget allowed 8,300 classrooms to be built by the Department of Education (DepEd) and by the time of the state of the nation address (Sona) there were only 18 made. Even if the money was there, it was hard to undertake these tasks. At the same time, we were conscious of the fact that they were already quoting very large numbers of school buildings as a slack. Eventually that number became 66,800. And as you know, we finished that last year,” he said.

“So the impossible has been accomplished and we have had the wherewithal now to support the K-12 program, which will need more classrooms, teachers, desks, et cetera,” Aquino added.

“It is not an impossibility rather it’s really a question of when will we finish all of these necessary facilities for the extended K-12 program. The report handed to me was, I think, by next year we will be ready even though the need for these would be on 2016,” he claimed.

“Maybe the thoughts are, when we started, we inherited a lot of problems, we did not have the wherewithal, and when we reflect on the past four years, I can say we had several accomplishments even those we did not even dare imagine to happen,” Aquino said.

Aquino added if there is a singular legacy that he is leaving, it would be making the nation realize that a lot of achievements are possible under an administration guided by good governance. And anybody that will succeed his administration should have the same platform, he claimed.

“Even if a different administration reaps what we sow, that would not be a problem. The bar has been raised, however, so that the nation can expect more achievements from the next administration,” Aquino added.

FROM THE INQUIRER

What Went Before: The discovery of DAP Philippine Daily Inquirer2:17 am | Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014


DAP whistleblower Jinggoy Estrada: Now he is in jail. ( Estrada’s mugshot photo taken on his arrest, from www.gmanetwork/news)

MANILA, Philippines–In September last year, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, in a privilege speech entitled “The Untold PDAF Story that the People Should Know,” said that congressmen were “rewarded, bribed” and given “additionals” by the Aquino administration to get its way in Congress.

Estrada said that after the conviction in May 2012 of Chief Justice Renato Corona, 20 senators received at least P50 million in additional lump-sum allocations under their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), or the congressional pork barrel.

Estrada suggested that the bonuses were an “incentive” for the senators’ vote ousting Corona for dishonesty in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad later confirmed the release of P1.107 billion to 20 senators but pointed out that the funds came from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

The DAP is a mechanism designed by the Aquino administration in 2011 ostensibly to accelerate spending on projects and boost the country’s economic growth. The program was conceptualized in September 2011 and was approved by President Aquino the following month upon the recommendation of the Development Budget Coordination Committee and the Cabinet clusters. Little was publicly known of the facility, until Estrada’s disclosure.

According to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the DAP was created in view of the prevailing underspending in government disbursements for the first eight months of 2011.
9 petitions vs DAP

Critics said the DAP was unconstitutional and another form of pork barrel. At least nine petitions against DAP were filed in the Supreme Court last year.

In October last year, following the Estrada blast, President Aquino made a rare public address on prime time TV in defense of the controversial DAP.

In the 12-minute speech that sought to set the record straight on the controversial economic stimulus program, Aquino assailed certain politicians for allegedly seeking to muddle the issue and bedevil his administration.

No evidence vs President

In November of that year, the high court opened the oral arguments on the legality of the DAP. During the five-hour hearing, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio looked for evidence that the President had authorized Abad to create the DAP.

Carpio said he had seen no official document that showed Aquino had realigned government savings for the DAP and authorized the DBM to do it.

In January, during the resumption of the hearing, the Aquino administration urged the high court to dismiss the petitions seeking to declare the DAP unconstitutional.

Moot, academic

Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza said that the anti-DAP petitions had become moot because the Palace stopped its use since mid-2013.

For his part, Abad told the court that the DAP “had already served fully its purpose and that was why the economic managers recommended its termination to the President.”

In 2011, a total of P83.53 billion was released to provide additional funds for programs and projects, such as healthcare, public works, housing and resettlement, and agriculture. The following year, P58.7 billion was released to augment tourism road infrastructure, school infrastructure, rehabilitation and extension of light rail systems, and rural electrification.

Of the total P142.23 billion for the DAP in 2011 and 2012, the DBM said 9 percent or P12.8 billion went to programs and projects identified by legislators.

In 2013, some P15 billion was approved for the hiring of policemen, additional funds for the modernization of the Philippine National Police, the redevelopment of Roxas Boulevard, and funding for the Typhoon Pablo rehabilitation projects for Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental, the DBM said.–Inquirer Research
Sources: Inquirer Archives, dbm.gov.ph


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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