NOY RELIED ON ADMIN CODE AS DAP LEGAL BASIS

JULY 4 --President Aquino apparently relied on the Administrative Code of 1987 as his legal basis for authorizing the use of nearly P32 billion in government savings for the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). He gave such authority to Budget Secretary Florencio Abad on June 27, 2012 by approving a seven-page memorandum his budget chief sent him two days earlier on the pooling and use of savings and unobligated or unused funds. The authority given to Abad covered the consolidation of savings and withdrawal of unused funds of state agencies and the realignment of such appropriations. In his memorandum, the budget chief informed Aquino that the legal basis for the consolidation and realignment of such funds was the Administrative Code of 1987. “Any savings in the regular appropriations in the General Appropriations Act for programs and projects of any department, office or agency, may, with the approval of the President, be used to cover a deficit in any other item of the regular appropriations,” Abad said quoting Section 39, Chapter 5, Book VI of the code. He also cited a provision in Section 38 of the same Chapter 5, Book VI of the code: “The President is authorized to suspend or otherwise stop further expenditure of funds allotted for any agency, or any expenditure authorized in the General Appropriations Act.” Aside from these mandates in the code, Abad – in his memorandum to Aquino – quoted Section 25, Article VI of the Constitution. * READ MORE...

ALSO: ‘What are we in power for?’ Osmeña says of Palace tack 

JULY 6 --As three of the Palace targeted senators are all detained, a former ally of President Aquino has criticized the President for “power tripping” in pinning, until now, only members of the opposition involved in the P10-billion pork barrel scam of alleged brains Janet Lim Napoles while defending to the hilt his allies who were also involved in the scandal. Sen. Sergio Osmeña III said members of the Liberal Party (LP), the party where Aquino is chairman, could be following its old mantra that whoever in the ruling party must be protected at all times. “As a Liberal Party bigwig inelegantly declared 65 years ago: What are we in power for?” Osmeña told the Daily Tribune in a text message. Osmeña was a former LP member but resigned 14 years ago. “No, I am not a member of the Liberal Party. I resigned in 2000 when I joined PDP-Laban. I am still a member of PDP-Laban,” the senator from Cebu City said. This is not the first time that the veteran senator criticized the President. Some months ago, he also said that the bachelor president is inept in his job, that he doesn’t know what must be done with utmost concern. He labeled Aquino as ampaw (a colloquial term for weak, underperforming, more talks, un-intellectual), awful manager and hard headed while his some of his cabinet members, led by Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla, are NPAs (non performing assets). The senator was reacting to the recent arrest of 90-year-old Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile more than a week after two other opposition senators, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla, were arrested in connection to the Napoles pork barrel scam. Since the three are charged with plunder, a non-bailable offense, they are forced to stay in Philippine National Police custodial cell. The case of Enrile is different as he is currently at the PNP General Hospital due to high blood pressure. According to Osmeña, the president could prove his sincerity if everybody, and not just in the opposition, involved in the scam will be charged and detained. Since the scam grabbed headlines months ago, several personalities aligned with the president were also dragged. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Who will benefit most if Aquino is impeached? Cayetano has answer

JULY 4 --Impeaching the President would only benefit Vice President Jejomar Binay, Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano warned on Friday. “Look, with all these calls and demonizing of everyone rather in a reasonable approach on how to sort out this, sino ba ang nakikinabang?” Cayateno asked during a press conference in Taguig City. “Pag na impeach ang Pangulo, sino ba ang magiging presidente? Di ba si Vice President Binay? (If the President is impeached, who will replace him? Isn’t it Vice President Binay?) ” The senator was reacting to some sectors pushing for President Aquino’s impeachment over the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court this week. “It’s a choice between someone, the President, who’s going after the PDAF scam, and someone na pag naging president, makakawala yung nasa PDAF scam,” he said. PDAF is Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) also known as “pork barrel” funds. Instead of filing an impeachment complaint against the President, Cayetano said Aquino’s critics should focus on good governance. He also warned the President’s detractors against filing a weak complaint since the Constitution only allows the filing of one complaint every year against any impeachable official. “So kung ipa-file mo dito sa pinakamahina, e kayo din. Walang mawawala,” Cayetano said. “But again, sino ba ang makikinabang pag na impeach si President Aquino? Magiging presidente si Binay. E ngayon pa lang nakakulong pa si Senator Jinggoy, ang sinasabi nya gagawin nyang vice president e,” he said, referring to detained Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada. (But again, who will benefit most if the President is impeached? Binay will assume the post. And he (Binay) is already saying he would make Senator Jinggoy (Estrada) as his vice president.) * READ MORE...

ALSO: DAP brains ‘innocent’ – Palace 

JULY 6 --Independent audit of economic stimulus program rejected. Malacañang stressed yesterday that officials involved in the formulation of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) are “innocent until proven guilty” as it rejected calls for an independent audit of the economic stimulus program. Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte issued the statement in the wake of the call of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to oust those behind the DAP. “Kasi meron pa rin po tayong sinusunod na prosesong ligal at meron po tayong sinusunod na presumption na innocent until proven guilty. Hindi lang po ‘yan para sa mga kasamahan sa administrasyon, ngunit pati din po sa mga kasamahan naman po sa oposisyon,” she said. (We have to adhere to legal process and the constitutional provision of the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. This applies not only to administration allies but also to opposition members.) DAP ‘BRAINS’ While Valte was silent on the identities of those behind the DAP, all indications, based on the 92-page Supreme Court ruling on DAP, point to Budget Secretary Florencio Abad as the official behind the economic stimulus program that was declared unconstitutional. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Impeachment futile, a waste of time – solons 

JULY 4--Administration lawmakers in the House of Representatives have branded the brewing impeachment complaints against President Aquino over the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) as an “exercise in futility” and a “waste of time.” The Supreme Court’s ruling cannot be used as basis to oust the Chief Executive, Liberal Party (LP) members in the House said. Western Samar Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento, LP secretary general, said those who are mulling over the filing of an impeachment case against Mr. Aquino should even thank him for giving “a name for the purpose of transparency” the practice of using the unprogrammed. unds that were generated from savings. NO BASIS “Any impeachment complaint against the President will not fly because the President has not done anything to betray public trust. He did not steal any money from the government and has maintained the highest standard expected of a government official. There’s really no basis for any impeachment complaint,” he said in a statement. He said the impeachment complaint would not fly in the House of Representatives because it has no legal and moral basis. “It’s an exercise in futility yet will exhaust government resources and legislative time,” reckoned Caloocan City Rep. Edgardo “Egay” Erice (2nd District), another LP member. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Almost half of Pinoys unhappy with Aquino  - Survey 

JULY 5 --Almost half of Filipinos are not satisfied with how President Benigno Aquino 3rd runs the country, according to the latest survey of IBON. Rosario Bella Guzman, executive director of IBON, said 46.9 percent of those who responded to the April 2014 nationwide poll conducted by her group said that in the past three months, they did not find the President’s performance satisfactory. The results were unchanged from the January 2014 poll, Guzman added. In the survey held in April, at least 36 percent found Aquino’s performance satisfactory, a slight decrease from the results in January 2014 (37.5 percent) and in October 2013 (39.0 percent). The April 2014 survey was held 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. IBON earlier reported that most Filipinos saw no improvement in corruption and poverty in the country. Filipinos were asked if they thought there was less corruption and three out of five or 64.9 percent of the respondents did not agree, the survey results claimed. Only 23.9 percent of the respondents believed there was less corruption. IBON also asked respondents if there was less poverty in the last three years and 14.8 of those surveyed said yes, while eight out of 10 or 77.4 percent disagreed. Seven out of 10 Filipinos or 67.0 percent also said their families were poor.. * READ 14 REPLIES FROM READERS...


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Noy relied on Admin Code as DAP legal basis

MANILA, JULY 6, 2014 (PHILSTAR)  By Jess Diaz - President Aquino apparently relied on the Administrative Code of 1987 as his legal basis for authorizing the use of nearly P32 billion in government savings for the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

He gave such authority to Budget Secretary Florencio Abad on June 27, 2012 by approving a seven-page memorandum his budget chief sent him two days earlier on the pooling and use of savings and unobligated or unused funds.

The authority given to Abad covered the consolidation of savings and withdrawal of unused funds of state agencies and the realignment of such appropriations.

In his memorandum, the budget chief informed Aquino that the legal basis for the consolidation and realignment of such funds was the Administrative Code of 1987.

“Any savings in the regular appropriations in the General Appropriations Act for programs and projects of any department, office or agency, may, with the approval of the President, be used to cover a deficit in any other item of the regular appropriations,” Abad said quoting Section 39, Chapter 5, Book VI of the code.

He also cited a provision in Section 38 of the same Chapter 5, Book VI of the code: “The President is authorized to suspend or otherwise stop further expenditure of funds allotted for any agency, or any expenditure authorized in the General Appropriations Act.”

Aside from these mandates in the code, Abad – in his memorandum to Aquino – quoted Section 25, Article VI of the Constitution.

* Such section provides that the president “may, by law, be authorized to augment any item in the general appropriations law from savings in other items of appropriations.”

In approving the annual general appropriations law or budget, Congress restates this constitutional provision as the legal authority for the president to augment any appropriation in the budget from savings.

No time frame

The constitutional and legal bases for DAP cited by Abad do not contain any timeframe on when the President can suspend expenditures, use savings or augment appropriations.

The budget chief had obviously assumed that Aquino could do any of these within the budget year. But the Supreme Court (SC) has a different view.

Under the SC ruling declaring parts of DAP unconstitutional, the high court said savings could be declared and unused funds could be withdrawn and realigned only at the end of every fiscal year.

The tribunal also banned “cross-border” realignments to other branches of government, meaning the executive branch cannot realign funds to the judiciary or Congress, and vice versa.

It also disallowed the use of unprogrammed appropriations without a certification from the national treasurer that funds are actually available.

In his memorandum, Abad informed Aquino that the government had billions in savings from unfilled positions and projects that had been completed or discontinued, and from slow-moving programs and projects.

He said such funds amounted to P31.962 billion and could better be used for high-impact infrastructure and fast-moving projects.

He proposed that P2 billion would be given to the Department of Public Works and Highways, P1.6 billion to the Coast Guard for its activities in the West Philippine Sea, P2.2 billion to the Philippine National Railways, P1.8 billion to the Department of Agrarian Reform, and P1 billion to Land Bank as credit facility for farmers.

Some P5 billion was to be allocated for tourism infrastructure, P4.1 billion for the premium contribution of personnel of the Department of Education to the Government Service Insurance System, P1.4 billion for the rehabilitation of LRT Lines 1 and 2, P2 billion for rural health clinics, P1 billion for rural electrification, P1.3 billion for job programs, and P8.3 billion for various local projects.

The House of Representatives was to be given P250 million for its legislative library and archive building project.

Militant groups claim that aside from the June 25, 2012 memo, Abad had two other submissions to the President on DAP, including one for 2011.

Unexplained withdrawal

The DBM has more explaining to do with its having withdrawn P475 million in DAP funds from DAR in early 2012.

Documents obtained by The STAR show that the funds were released to the “Office of the Secretary, Department of Agrarian Reform” in six separate special allotment release orders (SAROs).

A DBM source said the funds were intended for the projects of some senators for agrarian reform beneficiaries. The source could not identify the senators. A SARO is a DBM fund release document.

Three SAROs were for P100 million each, one for P70 million, another for P55 million, and the last one for P50 million.

They were all dated Dec. 6, 2011 and signed by DBM Undersecretary Mario Relampagos, who is facing graft charges before the Sandiganbayan in connection with his alleged involvement in the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam.

The SAROs indicated that the funds were not part of the “programmed” budget of DAR but for “additional program.”

In the fund release documents was a typewritten note saying, “This release is in accordance with OP approval dated Oct. 12, 2011.” OP stands for Office of the President.

The SAROs were accompanied by six separate notices of cash allocation (NCAs) advising DAR Secretary Virgilio delos Reyes that funds were immediately available for the senators’ projects. Relampagos signed the NCAs also on Dec. 6, 2011.

In government budgeting, it is not normal for actual cash to be released on the same day as SAROs. This is because the SARO serves as the document for an agency to start the process of procuring products or services, which includes bidding and which takes some time. An agency does not need actual cash to begin such a process.

Normally, cash is made available later and in installments, since there is the so-called “progress billing” in government.

Funds in a flash

In the case of the senators’ funds coursed through the office of the DAR secretary, the entire amount of P475 million was made available at the Land Bank-Quezon City Memorial Circle branch on the day the SAROs were released.

However, three months later, Relampagos withdrew the funds by issuing six separate “negative SAROs.”

A total of P370 million was withdrawn in four negative SAROs on March 15, 2012, with the remaining P55 million recalled more than a month later on April 30 and P50 million on June 25, 2012.

There was no stated reason for the recall of the funds in the negative SAROs. There was also no note that the withdrawal was upon OP approval.

Curiously, on the same day Relampagos withdrew the funds from DAR, the DBM issued SAROs for P425 million for the projects of Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Ramon Revilla Jr., Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Vicente Sotto III, and Juan Ponce Enrile.

Estrada, Revilla and Marcos were allocated P100 million each, while Sotto and Enrile got P70 million and P55 million, respectively.

The funds, coursed through the National Livelihood Development Corp. (NLDC), allegedly ended up with bogus foundations linked to alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles.

Gondelina Amata, who is NLDC president, is charged with Estrada, Revilla, Enrile, Napoles, senior aides of the three senators, and other NLDC personnel before the Sandiganbayan for their alleged participation in the pork barrel scam.

NLDC is a subsidiary of Land Bank. Land Bank president Gilda Pico chairs NLDC but has not been dragged into the scam.

Not possible

Meanwhile, two senators whose projects had benefited from DAP in 2012 said it would not be necessary or possible for them to return funds they had never touched in the first place.

Senators Sergio Osmeña III and Alan Peter Cayetano said lawmakers were clueless that funds for their projects were released through DAP since they were not aware that such a program even existed at that time.

“We do not receive any funds. We are only given the right to identify the projects. How do we even return money that never went to our bank accounts? The funds go from the DBM to the beneficiaries. We only identify (the projects),” Osmeña said in an interview over dwIZ.

“For example, the funds went to (the construction of) schools. How do I return a school? If it went to shoulder the cost of dialysis, is it possible for me to get the medicine that went to the body of the person who underwent dialysis?” Cayetano, for his part, said.

Cayetano said the demand for the return of DAP-related funds should only be addressed to legislators who may have misused or stolen them. – With Marvin Sy, Aurea Calica, Sheila Crisostomo

FROM THE TRIBUNE

‘What are we in power for?’ Osmeña says of Palace tack Written by Ed Velasco Sunday, 06 July 2014 00:00

OSMEÑA III

As three of the Palace targeted senators are all detained, a former ally of President Aquino has criticized the President for “power tripping” in pinning, until now, only members of the opposition involved in the P10-billion pork barrel scam of alleged brains Janet Lim Napoles while defending to the hilt his allies who were also involved in the scandal.

Sen. Sergio Osmeña III said members of the Liberal Party (LP), the party where Aquino is chairman, could be following its old mantra that whoever in the ruling party must be protected at all times.

“As a Liberal Party bigwig inelegantly declared 65 years ago: What are we in power for?” Osmeña told the Daily Tribune in a text message. Osmeña was a former LP member but resigned 14 years ago.

“No, I am not a member of the Liberal Party. I resigned in 2000 when I joined PDP-Laban. I am still a member of PDP-Laban,” the senator from Cebu City said. This is not the first time that the veteran senator criticized the President. Some months ago, he also said that the bachelor president is inept in his job, that he doesn’t know what must be done with utmost concern.

He labeled Aquino as ampaw (a colloquial term for weak, underperforming, more talks, un-intellectual), awful manager and hard headed while his some of his cabinet members, led by Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla, are NPAs (non performing assets).

The senator was reacting to the recent arrest of 90-year-old Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile more than a week after two other opposition senators, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla, were arrested in connection to the Napoles pork barrel scam.

Since the three are charged with plunder, a non-bailable offense, they are forced to stay in Philippine National Police custodial cell. The case of Enrile is different as he is currently at the PNP General Hospital due to high blood pressure.
 
According to Osmeña, the president could prove his sincerity if everybody, and not just in the opposition, involved in the scam will be charged and detained. Since the scam grabbed headlines months ago, several personalities aligned with the president were also dragged.

* They include Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Juliana “Dinky” Soliman. Of the three, it is Abad that is believed to be the most culpable as documents obtained pinned him as the tutor of Napoles when it comes to pork barrel anomaly.

The senator said there are enough reasons to believe that those involved in the cam but aligned with the president are heavily protected since no criminal charge or even censure has been meted against any of them.

“If the evidence is sufficient to support a finding for probable cause of course criminal charges should be filed. That’s for the Ombudsman to decide. However, some people say that for members of KKK (kabarilan, kamag-anak, kaklase) clique, the quantum of evidence required to support a charge will be greater,” the senator said.

Osmeña is not the first respected authority who lambasted the president for alleged selective persecution. Two weeks ago, former senator Ernesto Herrera did the same. According to the former senator, the daang matuwid (straight path) gimmick of the president will be more credible if everybody involved in the scam will be charged with similar offense.

Malacanang said the arrest of the three senators in the plunder and graft case in connection with the controversial pork barrel scam “was a step forward in finding out the truth, which is fundamental in strengthening the trust of our people in our institutions and processes.

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda reiterated his call to the Filipinos to remain vigilant throughout the process as the Sandiganbayan works to fulfill its mandate.

“...Bearing in mind that the outcome should clearly reflect the profound reality —that just as every Filipino is accorded constitutional rights, these rights are to be protected in a manner that is just and in the service of the truth,” he said.

Lacierda also downplayed accusations that the government is focused on indictments and arrests of lawmakers who appeared to be in opposition against the administration.

“Just to remind everyone, we already filed a case against one of the allies of the President,” he said, referring to former Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon who resigned late last year after he was named respondent in a malversation complaint also in connection with the pork barrel scam.

“Shouldn’t that be as clear, as fundamental that we are color blind with respect to any investigation that involves anyone who are involved in the PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) scam?,” he added.

Some months ago, he also said that the bachelor president is inept in his job, that he doesn’t know what must be done with utmost concern.

He labeled Aquino as ampaw (a colloquial term for weak, underperforming, more talks, un-intellectual), awful manager and hard headed while his some of his cabinet members, led by Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla, are NPAs (non performing assets).

The senator was reacting to the recent arrest of 90-year-old Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile more than a week after two other opposition senators, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla, were arrested in connection to the Napoles pork barrel scam.

Since the three are charged with plunder, a non-bailable offense, they are forced to stay in Philippine National Police custodial cell. The case of Enrile is different as he is currently at the PNP General Hospital due to high blood pressure.
 
According to Osmeña, the president could prove his sincerity if everybody, and not just in the opposition, involved in the scam will be charged and detained. Since the scam grabbed headlines months ago, several personalities aligned with the president were also dragged.

They include Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Juliana “Dinky” Soliman. Of the three, it is Abad that is believed to be the most culpable as documents obtained pinned him as the tutor of Napoles when it comes to pork barrel anomaly.

The senator said there are enough reasons to believe that those involved in the cam but aligned with the president are heavily protected since no criminal charge or even censure has been meted against any of them.

“If the evidence is sufficient to support a finding for probable cause of course criminal charges should be filed. That’s for the Ombudsman to decide. However, some people say that for members of KKK (kabarilan, kamag-anak, kaklase) clique, the quantum of evidence required to support a charge will be greater,” the senator said.

Osmeña is not the first respected authority who lambasted the president for alleged selective persecution. Two weeks ago, former senator Ernesto Herrera did the same. According to the former senator, the daang matuwid (straight path) gimmick of the president will be more credible if everybody involved in the scam will be charged with similar offense.

Malacanang said the arrest of the three senators in the plunder and graft case in connection with the controversial pork barrel scam “was a step forward in finding out the truth, which is fundamental in strengthening the trust of our people in our institutions and processes.

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda reiterated his call to the Filipinos to remain vigilant throughout the process as the Sandiganbayan works to fulfill its mandate.

FROM THE INQUIRER

Who will benefit most if Aquino is impeached? Cayetano has answer By Maila Ager |INQUIRER.net7:18 pm | Friday, July 4th, 2014


Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano. INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines –Impeaching the President would only benefit Vice President Jejomar Binay, Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano warned on Friday.

“Look, with all these calls and demonizing of everyone rather in a reasonable approach on how to sort out this, sino ba ang nakikinabang?” Cayateno asked during a press conference in Taguig City.

“Pag na impeach ang Pangulo, sino ba ang magiging presidente? Di ba si Vice President Binay? (If the President is impeached, who will replace him? Isn’t it Vice President Binay?) ”

The senator was reacting to some sectors pushing for President Aquino’s impeachment over the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court this week.

“It’s a choice between someone, the President, who’s going after the PDAF scam, and someone na pag naging president, makakawala yung nasa PDAF scam,” he said.

PDAF is Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) also known as “pork barrel” funds.

Instead of filing an impeachment complaint against the President, Cayetano said Aquino’s critics should focus on good governance.

He also warned the President’s detractors against filing a weak complaint since the Constitution only allows the filing of one complaint every year against any impeachable official.

“So kung ipa-file mo dito sa pinakamahina, e kayo din. Walang mawawala,” Cayetano said.

“But again, sino ba ang makikinabang pag na impeach si President Aquino? Magiging presidente si Binay. E ngayon pa lang nakakulong pa si Senator Jinggoy, ang sinasabi nya gagawin nyang vice president e,” he said, referring to detained Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada.

(But again, who will benefit most if the President is impeached? Binay will assume the post. And he (Binay) is already saying he would make Senator Jinggoy (Estrada) as his vice president.)

* Estrada has been charged and detained in connection with the pork barrel scam.

“What does that mean? Naniniwala syang inosente si Senator Jinggoy. Ikaw ba gagawin mong vice president ang tingin mong plunderer? (He believes Senator Jinggoy is innocent. Will you make someone who you think is a plunderer your vice president?) ” Cayetano said.

Cayetano also believes that DAP was just an “honest mistake” on the part of Malacañang, and that no one should be held liable for it.

“Wala, wala (No one, no one),” he said when asked who should be held liable on the DAP issue.

He noted that the DAP had been done during the previous administrations and it was only now that it was declared unconstitutional by the high tribunal.

He also noted that when the SC declared the PDAF unconstitutional, no one was charged and sent to jail.
“Ibang usapan kung ninakaw yan…(It’s different if it’s stolen)” Cayetano said.

The senator did not also back the resignation calls for Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, the alleged architect of the DAP.

“To be fair with Secretary Abad, I think he’s being unfairly demonized,” Cayetano said.

FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

DAP brains ‘innocent’ – Palace by Jc Bello Ruiz July 6, 2014

Independent audit of economic stimulus program rejected


ABAD

Malacañang stressed yesterday that officials involved in the formulation of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) are “innocent until proven guilty” as it rejected calls for an independent audit of the economic stimulus program.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte issued the statement in the wake of the call of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to oust those behind the DAP.

“Kasi meron pa rin po tayong sinusunod na prosesong ligal at meron po tayong sinusunod na presumption na innocent until proven guilty. Hindi lang po ‘yan para sa mga kasamahan sa administrasyon, ngunit pati din po sa mga kasamahan naman po sa oposisyon,” she said. (We have to adhere to legal process and the constitutional provision of the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. This applies not only to administration allies but also to opposition members.)

DAP ‘BRAINS’

While Valte was silent on the identities of those behind the DAP, all indications, based on the 92-page Supreme Court ruling on DAP, point to Budget Secretary Florencio Abad as the official behind the economic stimulus program that was declared unconstitutional.

* According to the SC decision, it was Abad who sought the approval of DAP from President Aquino. He was also the official who issued various memoranda to pool savings, as wells as the National Budget Circular (NBC) 541 to implement DAP.

In a separate concurring opinion, Associate Justice Arturo Brion said he believes that Abad knew from the start that DAP was illegal. He based this on Abad’s response during the oral argument.

Valte, in an interview with government radio dzRB, maintained that the administration has been “transparent” on the use of the DAP with no less than President Aquino having detailed the projects that were funded by the economic stimulus fund in 2011.

Asked to comment on calls for the creation of an independent body to audit the DAP, Valte said that only the Commission on Audit (COA) is allowed by the Constitution to account government funds.

But Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, now detained on plunder and graft charges in connection with the P10-billion pork barrel scam, had earlier said that COA’s findings may be suspect since it was also a recipient of DAP funds.

SOLONS BACK COA AUDIT

At the House of Representatives, congressmen, led by Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte Jr., urged the executive to submit itself to audit by COA and to explain to the public where the funds released under the DAP were allocated and spent.

“Whether or not the DAP funds are properly used, COA can look into that,” Belmonte said.

Ifugao Rep. Teddy Brawner Baguilat and AKO Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe agreed with Belmonte, saying that to finally clear the air on DAP, the executive should allow the COA to step in.

“I’m okay with COA or the executive department divulging where funds under DAP went. I think it would even help our administration if the people would know that DAP was utilized well despite the SC ruling,” Baguilat said.

Labor group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) also sought a special audit for the DAP.

PM said Malacañang’s defense that it was done in good faith is flatly self-serving, saying DAP’s worth needs to be proven beyond the realm of motives or intentions.

“Our main and immediate interest here is to know whether DAP money had gone in the same manner PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) had been squandered,” PM Chairman Renato Magtubo said in a statement.

JOKER’S OPINION

Valte, meanwhile, declined to comment on the reported statement of former Senator Joker Arroyo that “Palace raped Congress with consent” in connection with the use of DAP funds.

“You know, that is the former senator’s opinion. That is his reading of the matter but obviously, we disagree,” she said.

But in his concurring opinion, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said the President under DAP and NBC 541 “usurped the power of the purse of Congress., making it inutile and surplusage.”

Valte also doubted the authenticity of a report that Abad allegedly bypassed the Palace’s legal team in crafting the DAP.

“I will have to check that. I also read that report… So I don’t know what’s the basis of that particular report is,” she said.

According to Valte, Aquino has already talked with Abad about the DAP issue but she said she has no information on how the conversation went between the two.

The Palace official also assured that the Supreme Court’s decision on the DAP will not hamper “budgetary reforms” of the administration. (With reports from Charissa M. Luci and Leslie Ann G. Aquino)

Impeachment futile, a waste of time – solons  by Ellson A. Quismoro & Charissa Luci July 4, 2014


IMMEDIATE PROSECUTION – Members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers, in a demonstration in front of the Supreme Court yesterday, call for the prompt prosecution of Budget Secretary Florencio ‘Butch’ Abad and others involved in the crafting and implemention of the P157-billion Disbursement Acceleration Program held by the High Court as unconstitutional. (Ali Vicoy)

Administration lawmakers in the House of Representatives have branded the brewing impeachment complaints against President Aquino over the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) as an “exercise in futility” and a “waste of time.”

The Supreme Court’s ruling cannot be used as basis to oust the Chief Executive, Liberal Party (LP) members in the House said.

Western Samar Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento, LP secretary general, said those who are mulling over the filing of an impeachment case against Mr. Aquino should even thank him for giving “a name for the purpose of transparency” the practice of using the unprogrammed funds that were generated from savings.

NO BASIS

“Any impeachment complaint against the President will not fly because the President has not done anything to betray public trust. He did not steal any money from the government and has maintained the highest standard expected of a government official. There’s really no basis for any impeachment complaint,” he said in a statement.

He said the impeachment complaint would not fly in the House of Representatives because it has no legal and moral basis.

“It’s an exercise in futility yet will exhaust government resources and legislative time,” reckoned Caloocan City Rep. Edgardo “Egay” Erice (2nd District), another LP member.

* The Caloocan solon said that while he believes that an impeachment complaint against Aquino won’t go anywhere, the procedure would eat up precious time that is better spent tackling various vital pieces of legislation currently on the Congress’ plate.

“An impeachment complaint will not prosper in the house, however it will consume time that should have been allocated to important measures such as the Bangsamoro, anti-political dynasty, FOI (Freedom of Information) and many more, to think that we are about to begin discussing the 2015 general appropriations act,” said Erice.

DON’T JUMP THE GUN

But Gabriela party-list Rep. Luz Ilagan cautioned the President’s allies against jumping the gun and immediately concluding that the impeachment complaint would not prosper.

“Let us stop counting presidential allies. Killing an impeachment complaint that is not even there yet says a lot about the character of the House of Representatives. The leadership of the House of Representatives should know better to look at the merits of a complaint if and when it is filed before judging its potential to prosper,” Ilagan said.

Ilagan, along with Gabriela party-list Reps. Emmi de Jesus, expressed readiness to endorse the impeachment complaint.

Last Tuesday, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled the DAP unconstitutional, leading some House members to call for the impeachment of President Aquino who approved the controversial program.

“NUP (National Unity Party) is part of the ruling coalition of political parties supporting the President and therefore… I would honestly say that impeachment right now would be merely an exercise in futility,” said Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. (4th District).

Barzaga, chairman of the House Games and Amusements Committee, said that constraints in both House support and time would ultimately doom impeachment moves against Aquino.

“Those who are pushing for the impeachment of the President will not get the one-third votes of the House membership. Assuming that they would be able to garner the required minimum votes the Senate will not able to complete the hearing of the impeachment complaint since 2016 is an election year, our sessions will end in all likelihood by the end of February or at the latest within the first two weeks of March,” he said.

DAP was the term given by the Aquino administration to the supposed long-time, nameless practice and prerogative of the executive of realigning unprogrammed funds derived from savings to government projects.

Aquino critics have insisted that DAP served as the President’s own “pork barrel” and is a tool prone to corruption.

DETRIMENTAL

Another administration ally, AKO BICOL party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe, believes that moves to impeach the Chief Executive – particularly during his last couple of years in office – would only prove to be detrimental.

“At this juncture when PNoy is already winding up his term, an impeachment complaint will just further divide and confuse our people already faced with a chaotic cornucopia of political issues and controversies,” he said.

“It will just paralyze the implementation of government programs and instead we will just be preoccupied with political bashings, spins and circus,” the sectoral representative said.

Barzaga, meanwhile, said that economic growth and both local and foreign investments would be adversely affected if the Chief Executive would be facing impeachment.

MALICIOUS

Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez (2nd District) said the more sensible thing to do for House members would be to support the President instead of “harassing” him over DAP-fuelled impeachment raps.

Rodriguez said he was personally surprised by the SC decision against the legality of DAP, noting that “all presidents since Quezon” have enjoyed the practice of realigning government savings.

He added that all the administration’s DAP spendings were also done in good faith, therefore sparing Aquino of liability.

The Mindanao lawmaker even advised President Aquino to file a motion for reconsideration on the High Court’s ruling.

Referring to impeachment, Rodriguez stressed: “We are not going to allow that. It is only now under President Aquino that the country is back in business as an attractive area for investments.”

VISAYAN BLOC

Like the other lawmakers, the 34-strong Visayan bloc also vowed to resist any move to oust President Aquino.

Iloilo City Rep. Jerry Trenas, who leads the group, said they would not in any way endorse the ouster case against Mr. Aquino, maintaining that the DAP was a “lifesaver.”

“We have reached a consensus that we will resist any move to impeach President Aquino. The DAP was a lifesaver for many of our people especially in areas devastated by calamities such as the massive earthquake in Cebu and Bohol and the Super Typhoon Yolanda,” he said in a statement.

He cited that under Aquino’s leadership, the country achieved unprecedented economic growth than even other countries such as Spain and steadily improved its credit rating status, making the Philippines as Asia’s rising economic tiger.

CORDILLERA SOLONS

Baguio City Rep. Nicasio Aliping Jr. said any impeachment complaint lodged against the President will not prosper if it will be done in haste and without careful study.

Abra Rep. Ma Jocelyn Bernos, also an LP member, cautioned every Filipino to look at the real issue on the DAP. “Tignan natin kung ano ang naging epekto nito sa ating bansa and not just look at its negative side.” She said, “I believe it has done a great part in the country’s development as well.” (With a report from JJ Landingin)

FROM THE MANILA TIMES

Almost half of Pinoys unhappy with Aquino July 5, 2014 11:22 pm
by Thom Picaña correspondent

BAGUIO CITY: Almost half of Filipinos are not satisfied with how President Benigno Aquino 3rd runs the country, according to the latest survey of IBON.

Rosario Bella Guzman, executive director of IBON, said 46.9 percent of those who responded to the April 2014 nationwide poll conducted by her group said that in the past three months, they did not find the President’s performance satisfactory.

The results were unchanged from the January 2014 poll, Guzman added.

In the survey held in April, at least 36 percent found Aquino’s performance satisfactory, a slight decrease from the results in January 2014 (37.5 percent) and in October 2013 (39.0 percent).

The April 2014 survey was held 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.

IBON earlier reported that most Filipinos saw no improvement in corruption and poverty in the country.

Filipinos were asked if they thought there was less corruption and three out of five or 64.9 percent of the respondents did not agree, the survey results claimed.

Only 23.9 percent of the respondents believed there was less corruption.

IBON also asked respondents if there was less poverty in the last three years and 14.8 of those surveyed said yes, while eight out of 10 or 77.4 percent disagreed.

Seven out of 10 Filipinos or 67.0 percent also said their families were poor..

* 14 Responses to Almost half of Pinoys unhappy with Aquino
Ron Caniada says:
July 6, 2014 at 7:45 am
Only the scambags politicians are not satisfied how the President running the country. We the filipinos abroad believing he is doing great job. Mr. President Aquino we the filipinos abroad agreed with you 110%. Hurry up! catch all these scambags politicians before your term’s end.
Reply

Rocky Coronel says:
July 6, 2014 at 7:32 am
I see this trend increasing as we approach election 2016. With his hardline attitude of over protecting his people (start with Puno, Torres, Alcala, Vitangcol, Abad, etc.) I suspect him doing all these things on purpose to benefit Binay. Poor Roxas, he remains without clue that he is being junked.
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jaime sta.isabel says:
July 6, 2014 at 7:12 am
It seems that IBON survey is more realistic than SWS survey.I am sure Pnoy and his Palace speakers will deny this survey, there is always have ready alibi.
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Iste says:
July 6, 2014 at 7:00 am
Baka naman uneducated ang sinali sa survey. Yong mga hindi nagbabasa nang current events and only interested in balitang artista. Squatters na nababayaran ang boto. Mga mahihirap na tamad magtrabaho at ang gusto dole out from the government ang bumuhay sa kanila.
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Enot says:
July 6, 2014 at 6:33 am
With the decision out for DAP and the protection of the President to the authors of this fund, I am sure that the trust of the former is sliding down. More so that the prices of prime commodities are going up, the majority of the citizenry is getting poorer, so what is left now to be desired from the government? All of this answer is only “good faith” for the drum beaters in Malacanang.
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Claro Apolinar says:
July 6, 2014 at 6:25 am
This survey of IBON is suspect because because it is known to be a left-of-center institution. But if SWS and Pulse Asia will only cease to be instruments of the Aquino propaganda machine and do honest surveys, they too will find that more than half of the Filipinos are now dismayed by the corruption, hypocrisy and incompetence of the Aquino administration.
The other day I heard the ordinarily pro-Aquino Ted Failon of ABSCBN say “Noong araw naniwala ako sa Tuwid na Daan, Ngayong hindi na!”
That is coming from a Lopez station idol and veteran associate of the wife of Aquino’s annointed successor to the presidency, Korina Sanchez.
I hope Ted Failon honestly stays as pro-Philippines as he was the other day. Let’s pray the ABSCBN doesn’t fire him. God bless honest journalists!
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Samuel Santos says:
July 6, 2014 at 4:24 am
I believe that, now, it’s more than half.
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staci dep says:
July 6, 2014 at 4:12 am
Your survey sample is 1,500…out of 95,000.000 million people, this article is totally BS. ..be responsible journalist.
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sea eagle says:
July 6, 2014 at 4:11 am
Mr.President you need to spend more money on education,there are still 46.9 percent that are illiterate.you need to use ironfist sir,so result will be faster.eye for an eye.Mabuhay President AQUINO,6more years.
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JT says:
July 6, 2014 at 3:44 am
There seems to be no basis for the reported 50% not being happy with PNoy’s government. Filipinos were asked if they thought there was less corruption and three out of five or 64.9 percent of the respondents did not agree, the survey results claimed.
Why would you ask a person the question if there is less corruption and poverty when dlearly he has no previous figure! If there is no measurement there will be no improvement. If I was interiewed I will ask a number of questions before answering a motherhood statement. The people conducting survey should study what and how to ask and need eductation of statistics.
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JT says:
July 6, 2014 at 3:02 am
I think the survey is erroneous. 7 out of 10 OFW feels that the economy has improved and the perception of the foreigners is that our country is in the right track.
We have to question the validity and objectivity of IBON’s survey. Where the questions made it clear for the respondents to understand. What sector of society was interviewed? How many were interviewed, how many college graduates, what age were interviewed, where the questions to the level of those interviewed and what part ot the country or city, provinces were surveyed.
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gregg mcdo says:
July 6, 2014 at 2:15 am
I,m happy with Aquino, 20 more years with him will make the Philippines like Singapore. The problem with Pilipinos, are they are not a very discipline people. They always want to rely on the government to feed them, they don,t
want to find a way to progress. Powerfull country like the US, Germany and Japan don’t rely on their government, all they need from them is to guide them. wake up Pilipinos , all that you are good for are making babies.
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tehot says:
July 6, 2014 at 12:34 am
we should only believe surveys done by false asia and sws hehe
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Inocent says:
July 6, 2014 at 12:04 am
This is about the APRIL 2014 survey which is apparently a conservative survey. Let us hear the next survey, say August and find out how low can the King of PNoy go.
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