ABAD'S ABSOLUTION DONE IN 'A-BAD FAITH' SAYS OPPOSITION UNA 

JULY 10 --The opposition United Nationalist Alliance on Thursday criticized Malacañang for clearing Budget Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad of any wrongdoing in connection with the Disbursement Acceleration Program that the Supreme Court declared partially unconstitutional. UNA spokesperson and Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco said President Benigno Aquino III's spokesperson, Secretary Edwin Lacierda, shouldn't have made "a blanket decree absolving anyone from liability over the implementation of DAP without the benefit of any investigation." In a play of words on the Abad's surname and the administration's defense that the fund releases under the DAP were done "in good faith", said Malacañang's defense of the Liberal Party stalwart was done in "a-bad faith." “What Malacañang did was clearly in ‘a-bad faith’,” Tiangco said. Tiangco criticized Lacierda for saying Abad never benefited from DAP. Abad had been blamed as the architect of the controversial program, parts of which the Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional in a unanimous vote last week. Malacañang has said Abad continued to enjoy President Benigno Aquino III’s full confidence and trust despite the SC’s adverse decision. For Tiangco, the Palace’s “encompassing absolution” of Abad was in stark contrast to Aquino's pledge of pursuing the “Tuwid na Daan (Straight Path)” in which no one—not even a political ally—would be spared from the investigation of any anomaly. The lawmaker asked why Abad seemed indispensable to Aquino despite the controversies he had been involved in. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Palace absolves Cabinet members in DAP controversy 

JULY 10 --A day after clearing Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad over the unconstitutional Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), Malacanang also cleared Cabinet heads who implemented projects under it. Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda referred to these Cabinet members as good people. The Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority earlier issued statements detailing how they spent their shares in the P140 billion program that ran from 2011 to 2013. Lacierda also defended Abad anew, but noted the Budget chief’s fate is up to President Benigno Aquino III. Malacanang insists good faith was used in implementing the DAP. Lacierda noted not the entire DAP was rendered illegal. “Our position is the Supreme Court did not entirely repudiate the Disbursement Acceleration Program. There was not total repudiation of the DAP. Only four specific acts were called by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional,” he said. He said the high court recognized the DAP in spurring economic growth. Lacierda assured the public that the government will account for the DAP projects as well as their status of completion. “What we are doing and if you ask each and every Cabinet secretary, they will be able to provide you some information on the projects that are under them. We will be releasing the list of projects at the appropriate time,” he said. DAP became controversial after it was alleged that it was used as reward for lawmakers who ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona. Meanwhile, he also defended Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, who has also allegedly received DAP funds. “We may have political differences but I know Neri Colmenares as a person. He’s a man of principle. We do have political differences, but I don’t think if you ask him, he will agree to that statement,” he said. Colmenares was a prosecutor in the Corona impeachment trial.THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

(ALSO) Palace: SC’s DAP ruling placed ‘good men’ in bad light 

JULY 10 --Malacañang on Thursday criticized the Supreme Court (SC) ruling on the administration's disbursement acceleration program (DAP) for supposedly putting "good men" in President Benigno Aquino III's Cabinet "under fire."  Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the executive branch was wondering why the SC presumed Cabinet officials as "criminally liable" in its DAP ruling, instead of assuming they acted in good faith. "Dahil sa desisyong ito, ang mabubuting kalihim, ngayon, sinasabi ng desisyon na ito na mayroon silang criminal liability. Hindi lamang po si [Budget] Secretary Butch Abad ang sinasabi," Lacierda said. "Bagamat walang alegasyon na nagnakaw sila ng pera, ito po ay isang epekto ng desisyong ito. Kaya kami po nagtataka why this decision extended all the way to them," he told reporters on Thursday afternoon. The Palace official particularly named Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio "Babes" Singson and Education Secretary Armin Luistro as among the "good men" whom the SC presumed as liable for the DAP. "Sino ba ang nag-implement? Isang matinong tao tulad ni Babes Singson. Isang matinong tao katulad ni Bro. Armin. Sila ngayon ang tinatawag na criminally liable? " READ MORE...READER  COMMENTS

(ALSO) Nancy tells 'busy' Abad: Don't evade DAP issue, explain

JULY 10 --Sen. Nancy Binay on Thursday urged Budget Secretary Florencio Abad not to skirt the issue of the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which has been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. “It may be true that Secretary Abad is busy in preparing the 2015 budget, but he can’t forever keep on evading the DAP issue,” Binay said in reaction to reports that Abad is busy preparing the 2015 national budget. Binay reiterated the calls of her colleagues that it should be Abad who should explain how the DAP came about and report to the people how that funds were used under the Aquino administration. “As budget chief, he owes the people an explanation on how taxpayers' money/funds are managed and spent,” Binay said. Reacting to the Palace's statement that the DAP was created in good faith to spur economic growth, Binay reiterated the call for the budget department and the executive to make public the list of DAP projects and programs. “If done in good faith, then they should release the list of projects and programs that were funded through DAP,” Binay said, adding that the public's doubt on the present administration would be erased once it reveals the list. Earlier this week, Sen. Francis Joseph Escudero admitted that he did not know that the DAP existed until Abad went on explaining the funds given to senators following Sen. Jinggoy Estrada's "bombshell" last year that senator-judges got at least P5 -million each as reward in exchange for their vote to impeach former chief justice Renato Corona. Asked if there was deception on the part of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) regarding the issue, Escudero said it was an internal arrangement within the agency and the executive branch. * READ MORE...

ALSO: 91% of DAP spent properly’; Palace: Did Abad steal the money? No 

JULY 10 --“Did Secretary Florencio ‘Butch’ Abad waste [Disbursement Acceleration Program, or DAP] money? No. Did he steal the money? No. [These are] very, very clear, categorical answers that neither acts happened. Did he personally gain from [DAP]? No, as well,” said presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda. Malacañang on Wednesday cleared Budget Secretary Abad of any wrongdoing after his brainchild, the DAP, was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. “Ninety-one percent” of DAP funds had been spent properly by the executive branch. “There’s no doubt about it,” Lacierda said on Wednesday. But Lacierda apparently could not vouch for the remaining 9 percent of DAP funds—an estimated P12.8 billion—which were allocated for projects identified by legislators. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Aquino rejects Abad's resignation  

President Benigno Aquino III revealed on Friday that Budget Secretary Florencio Abad has tendered his resignation amid the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) controversy. Aquino said Abad submitted his resignation letter yesterday, but he turned it down. "I have considered the same and I have decided not to accept the resignation," Aquino said at the start of the 2015 budget presentation in Malacañang, which was shown live on state-run People's Television Network. Abad is considered as the architect of the DAP, a mechanism introduced in 2011 that realigns government savings from slow-moving projects to other programs supposedly to boost the economy. Critics have claimed that DAP funds were used as bribes for lawmakers to vote for the impeachment and conviction of former Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Renato Corona. The high court finally released a decision last week declaring key parts of the DAP as unconstitutional, which sparked calls for Abad's resignation. Aquino maintained that the DAP benefited the people. "To accept his resignation is to assign to him a wrong and I cannot accept the notion that doing right by our people is a wrong. Therefore, I have decided not to accept his resignation," Aquino said, drawing applause from the other members of the Cabinet. * READ MORE...

ALSO: A short history of presidential cabinet secretaries who quit, axed 

JULY 11 --File photo of President Aquino and embattled Budget Secretary Florencio Abad. With President Aquino declining the resignation of Budget Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad, following the decision of the Supreme Court to strike down the Disbursement Acceleration Program, recent history of the country would show that there were a number of memorable departing from the Cabinet. Let us revisit some of them: On November 23, 1986, then President Corazon Aquino fired Defense Secretary Juan Ponce-Enrile following intelligence reports that claimed Enrile and members of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) were plotting to overthrow her. During the term of President Fidel V. Ramos, it is reported that 28 cabinet members left their posts. Among them was Executive Secretary Peter Garrucho, who quit his post on August 10, 1992, or mere weeks after Ramos' assumption to the presidency. Garrucho was named in a controversy over the issuance of an executive order exempting mining firms from the value-added tax or VAT. On April 30, 1995, meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Secretary Robert Romulo resigned over perceived bungling of the Flor Contemplacion case. Then Labor Secretary Nieves Confessor followed Romulo's resignation on June 30, 1995, still over the Contemplacion case. Also on the same date, Environment Secretary Angel Alcala resigned over alleged anomalies in the DENR. On April 16, 1997, Transportation and Communication Secretary Amado S. Lagdameo also quit his post for allegedly failing to stop the graft-ridden PEA-Amari deal. Not all quit their post, however. * READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA NEWS REPORT:

Abad’s absolution done in ‘a-bad faith’, says UNA


PHOTO COURTESY OF RAPPLER.COM

MANILA, JULY 14, 2014 (GMANEWSNETWORK) The opposition United Nationalist Alliance on Thursday criticized Malacañang for clearing Budget Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad of any wrongdoing in connection with the Disbursement Acceleration Program that the Supreme Court declared partially unconstitutional.

UNA spokesperson and Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco said President Benigno Aquino III's spokesperson, Secretary Edwin Lacierda, shouldn't have made "a blanket decree absolving anyone from liability over the implementation of DAP without the benefit of any investigation."

In a play of words on the Abad's surname and the administration's defense that the fund releases under the DAP were done "in good faith", said Malacañang's defense of the Liberal Party stalwart was done in "a-bad faith."

“What Malacañang did was clearly in ‘a-bad faith’,” Tiangco said.

Tiangco criticized Lacierda for saying Abad never benefited from DAP.

Abad had been blamed as the architect of the controversial program, parts of which the Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional in a unanimous vote last week.

Malacañang has said Abad continued to enjoy President Benigno Aquino III’s full confidence and trust despite the SC’s adverse decision.

For Tiangco, the Palace’s “encompassing absolution” of Abad was in stark contrast to Aquino's pledge of pursuing the “Tuwid na Daan (Straight Path)” in which no one—not even a political ally—would be spared from the investigation of any anomaly.

The lawmaker asked why Abad seemed indispensable to Aquino despite the controversies he had been involved in.

* Tiangco said that prior to the SC's decision on the DAP, Abad was accused of involvement in the pork barrel scam allegedly masterminded by Janet Lim-Napoles.

Malacañang cleared the Budget secretary’s name in the scandal and dismissed the allegations as “malicious and ridiculous.”

“What cards does Abad have in his sleeves that the President is so scared of him? Is PNoy worried that Abad will take him down with him and tell all he knows?” Tiangco asked.

The UNA official challenged Abad to account for the DAP funds, estimated to be anywhere between P140 billion and P177 billion, that he said were used to finance “high-impact” projects like the P250 million Congressional E-Library, the P135 million spy gadgets purchased by the Presidential Security Group (PSG) while some were disbursed to lawmakers after the impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona.

“Hindi barya-barya ang P170 billion… kailangan niyang ipaliwanag kung ano ang ginawa nya sa pera ng taumbayan,” Tiangco said.

Malacañang said Wednesday it will account for the funds that went to DAP—but only after it has exhausted all legal remedies concerning the Supreme Court ruling. —NB, GMA News

FROM ABS-CBN

Palace absolves Cabinet members in DAP controversy by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News Posted at 07/10/2014 6:11 PM | Updated as of 07/10/2014 6:11 PM


AQUINO

MANILA - A day after clearing Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad over the unconstitutional Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), Malacanang also cleared Cabinet heads who implemented projects under it.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda referred to these Cabinet members as good people.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority earlier issued statements detailing how they spent their shares in the P140 billion program that ran from 2011 to 2013.

Lacierda also defended Abad anew, but noted the Budget chief’s fate is up to President Benigno Aquino III.

Malacanang insists good faith was used in implementing the DAP.

Lacierda noted not the entire DAP was rendered illegal.

“Our position is the Supreme Court did not entirely repudiate the Disbursement Acceleration Program. There was not total repudiation of the DAP. Only four specific acts were called by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional,” he said.

He said the high court recognized the DAP in spurring economic growth.

Lacierda assured the public that the government will account for the DAP projects as well as their status of completion.

“What we are doing and if you ask each and every Cabinet secretary, they will be able to provide you some information on the projects that are under them. We will be releasing the list of projects at the appropriate time,” he said.

DAP became controversial after it was alleged that it was used as reward for lawmakers who ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Meanwhile, he also defended Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, who has also allegedly received DAP funds.

“We may have political differences but I know Neri Colmenares as a person. He’s a man of principle. We do have political differences, but I don’t think if you ask him, he will agree to that statement,” he said.

Colmenares was a prosecutor in the Corona impeachment trial.

FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

Palace: SC’s DAP ruling placed ‘good men’ in bad light By ANDREO CALONZO, GMA NewsJuly 10, 2014 4:27pm


Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda. INQUIRER file photo

Malacañang on Thursday criticized the Supreme Court (SC) ruling on the administration's disbursement acceleration program (DAP) for supposedly putting "good men" in President Benigno Aquino III's Cabinet "under fire."

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the executive branch was wondering why the SC presumed Cabinet officials as "criminally liable" in its DAP ruling, instead of assuming they acted in good faith.

"Dahil sa desisyong ito, ang mabubuting kalihim, ngayon, sinasabi ng desisyon na ito na mayroon silang criminal liability. Hindi lamang po si [Budget] Secretary Butch Abad ang sinasabi," Lacierda said.

"Bagamat walang alegasyon na nagnakaw sila ng pera, ito po ay isang epekto ng desisyong ito. Kaya kami po nagtataka why this decision extended all the way to them," he told reporters on Thursday afternoon.

The Palace official particularly named Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio "Babes" Singson and Education Secretary Armin Luistro as among the "good men" whom the SC presumed as liable for the DAP.

"Sino ba ang nag-implement? Isang matinong tao tulad ni Babes Singson. Isang matinong tao katulad ni Bro. Armin. Sila ngayon ang tinatawag na criminally liable? Sila ang kakasuhan nila? What's the point of saying that project was done for a good reason?" Lacierda said.

"Sana pag-aralang mabuti ang desisyon para makita ang epekto sa ating mabubuting tao na nag-implement ng magagandang proyekto," he added.

Last week, the SC unanimously declared certain acts under the government's DAP as unconstitutional, including the declaration of unobligated allotments as savings, the cross-border transfers of savings of the executive to other branches of government, and the funding of projects not stated in the national budget.

In its ruling, the SC said the doctrine of operative fact applied to DAP-funded projects, meaning these projects could no longer be ignored or undone.

Despite this, the high court said in its DAP ruling that "the doctrine of operative fact... 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."

Lacierda said the legal team studying the DAP ruling had not yet determined whether the executive branch will appeal the SC's decision. —NB, GMA News


FROM PHILSTAR

Nancy tells 'busy' Abad: Don't evade DAP issue, explain By Christina Mendez (philstar.com) | Updated July 10, 2014 - 4:29pm


NANCY BINAY

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Nancy Binay on Thursday urged Budget Secretary Florencio Abad not to skirt the issue of the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which has been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

“It may be true that Secretary Abad is busy in preparing the 2015 budget, but he can’t forever keep on evading the DAP issue,” Binay said in reaction to reports that Abad is busy preparing the 2015 national budget.

Binay reiterated the calls of her colleagues that it should be Abad who should explain how the DAP came about and report to the people how that funds were used under the Aquino administration.

“As budget chief, he owes the people an explanation on how taxpayers' money/funds are managed and spent,” Binay said.

Reacting to the Palace's statement that the DAP was created in good faith to spur economic growth, Binay reiterated the call for the budget department and the executive to make public the list of DAP projects and programs.

“If done in good faith, then they should release the list of projects and programs that were funded through DAP,” Binay said, adding that the public's doubt on the present administration would be erased once it reveals the list.

Earlier this week, Sen. Francis Joseph Escudero admitted that he did not know that the DAP existed until Abad went on explaining the funds given to senators following Sen. Jinggoy Estrada's "bombshell" last year that senator-judges got at least P5 -million each as reward in exchange for their vote to impeach former chief justice Renato Corona.

Asked if there was deception on the part of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) regarding the issue, Escudero said it was an internal arrangement within the agency and the executive branch.

“If there is a need to disclose, then they should (because that is why) many questions are raised. But ignorance does not excuse anyone,” he said. “But how can we be ignorant of something we did not even know that existed.”

Escudero echoed the Palace’s rationale that they used the Administration Code of 1987 as basis for the DAP, which the senator said “has been a practice by previous presidents.”

Since the DAP was an act of the executive branch, Escudero noted it is understandable why lawmakers were clueless about it until Abad made the fuss and started explaining it at the height of the controversy last year.

Escudero pointed out that any possible collusion between the President and Abad “is a matter of evidence” since there is no DAP to speak of under the General Appropriations Act (GAA).

“That is a matter of evidence because if you see the SAROs, it’s not even in the SAROs, walang banggit ang DAP sa GAA, wala ring banggit ang DAP sa SARO, so saan malalaman ang DAP, wala namang dokumentong nakakarating sa Senado o sa Kongreso kaugnay ng DAP.” Escudero added.

Meanwhile, Sen. Juan Victor Ejercito reiterated that the executive department explain the DAP to the public, not the senators.

“The real author of DAP is the Executive. We are just recipients but I also think that it is still the responsibility of the legislators to make sure that whatever funds were given to them are implemented,” Ejercito said.

Ejercito said receiving DAP funds would only be a problem if these were coursed through fake non-government organizations (NGOs).

There were allegations that funds under the DAP were alloted to fake NGOs identified with pork barrel scam queen Janet Lim Napoles.

“Then I think they have a lot of explaining to do,” Ejercito said.

91% of DAP spent properly’ By TJ Burgonio and Christian V. Esguerra |Philippine Daily Inquirer 2:55 am | Thursday, July 10th, 2014


Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda: Abad did not steal money. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO


MANILA, Philippines–“Did Secretary Florencio ‘Butch’ Abad waste [Disbursement Acceleration Program, or DAP] money? No. Did he steal the money? No. [These are] very, very clear, categorical answers that neither acts happened. Did he personally gain from [DAP]? No, as well,” said presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda.

Malacañang on Wednesday cleared Budget Secretary Abad of any wrongdoing after his brainchild, the DAP, was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

“Ninety-one percent” of DAP funds had been spent properly by the executive branch. “There’s no doubt about it,” Lacierda said on Wednesday.

But Lacierda apparently could not vouch for the remaining 9 percent of DAP funds—an estimated P12.8 billion—which were allocated for projects identified by legislators.

* Lacierda cited the ongoing Department of Justice investigation into allegations that five senators had channeled their respective allocations to fake foundations put up by Janet Lim-Napoles, the suspected mastermind of the pork barrel scam.

“That’s where the investigation is now focused,” he said.

When reports of the alleged DAP misuse by certain senators first came out in the Inquirer last year, a number of them said they were not exactly aware that the additional funds offered by Malacañang had been sourced from DAP money.

Said Lacierda: “I really don’t know how it was expressed to the senators. It’s possible that they were not aware that it was a disbursement acceleration fund. It’s possible.”

“But the source of those funds were clearly from the Disbursement Acceleration Program,” he said.

The Palace was also confident that President Aquino would survive the controversy generated by the DAP, which pooled government savings to supposedly expedite spending and improve the economy.

“Yes, no doubt,” Lacierda replied when asked about this in a press briefing.

Lacierda downplayed the plunder charges filed by several youth organizations against Abad, the chief architect of DAP who has been silent since the Supreme Court ruled against it last week.

“Secretary Butch Abad did not in any manner, shape or form gain funds from these programs,” Lacierda said.

Abad “systematically misappropriated, converted, misused and malversed public funds through his executive issuances and the programs implemented by him … in connivance with other government officials,” according to the 16-page complaint filed by Kabataan Rep. Terry Ridon and other youth groups in the Office of the Ombudsman.

According to Ridon, the President was excluded from the plunder case only because of the immunity he enjoys until his term expires in 2016.

“The very fact that Aquino is coddling a criminal like Abad only proves that the two of them have connived to execute this multibillion monstrosity known as the DAP,” Ridon said on Tuesday.

Lacierda said the idea of Abad resigning as a result of the high court’s decision could be the subject of “a conversation between” him and the President.

As of Wednesday, Abad had not addressed the unconstitutionality of his pet program. Lacierda said Abad was “doing OK” and was “just preoccupied” with preparations for next year’s proposed national budget.

Abad, however, found time to issue a five-paragraph press statement on the credit rating upgrade the Philippines received from Japan’s R&I.

Lacierda said the executive branch would later release the list of projects funded through DAP, including the “context” of spending.

Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV on Wednesday said he doubted President Aquino would resign over the DAP controversy, but expected him to come clean on this in his State of the Nation Address (Sona).

Worst that can happen

“That’s probably one of the worst things that can happen to our country if a President resigns where the reason is corruption cases,” the President’s cousin told reporters in the Senate.

Aquino has no reason to step down given that under his watch, individuals have been haled to court over the pork barrel scam and the economy has grown strong, the senator said.

“I don’t think that’s true. Secondly, that won’t happen because at the end of the day, these are happening because there is transparency, and the President is candid,” he said, reacting to a column by Ramon Tulfo in the Inquirer that the President was thinking of resigning.

FROM PHILSTAR

Aquino rejects Abad's resignation By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated July 11, 2014 - 10:20am


AQUINO AND ABAD--Malacañang Photo Bureau/Rey Baniquet

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) — President Benigno Aquino III revealed on Friday that Budget Secretary Florencio Abad has tendered his resignation amid the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) controversy.

Aquino said Abad submitted his resignation letter yesterday, but he turned it down.

"I have considered the same and I have decided not to accept the resignation," Aquino said at the start of the 2015 budget presentation in Malacañang, which was shown live on state-run People's Television Network.

Abad is considered as the architect of the DAP, a mechanism introduced in 2011 that realigns government savings from slow-moving projects to other programs supposedly to boost the economy.

Critics have claimed that DAP funds were used as bribes for lawmakers to vote for the impeachment and conviction of former Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Renato Corona.

The high court finally released a decision last week declaring key parts of the DAP as unconstitutional, which sparked calls for Abad's resignation.

Aquino maintained that the DAP benefited the people.

"To accept his resignation is to assign to him a wrong and I cannot accept the notion that doing right by our people is a wrong. Therefore, I have decided not to accept his resignation," Aquino said, drawing applause from the other members of the Cabinet.

* In the 92-page decision published last week, the SC said "authors, proponents and implementors" of the DAP can have criminal, civil, administrative and other liabilities "unless there are concrete findings of good faith in their favor by the proper tribunals."

Malacañang has insisted that the DAP was done in good faith, with Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda clearing Abad of any liability over the controversial fund scheme.

Read: Palace clears Abad of plunder over DAP

But Justice Arturo Brion, in his separate opinion, said there were transgressions found in Abad's performance of duties when evidence showed that his actions "negate the presumption of good faith."

"To be specific about this disclaimer, aside from the many admissions outlined elsewhere in the Opinion, there are indicators showing that the DBM Secretary might have established the DAP knowingly aware that it is tainted with unconstitutionality," the magistrate said.

Brion said during the oral arguments for the DAP, the budget chief admitted that he has an extensive knowledge of both the legal and practical operations of the budget.

He also explained that his verbal exchange with Abad during his questioning negates any claim by the Cabinet official that he did not know the legal implications of what he was doing.

"As a lawyer and with at least 12 years of experience behind him as a congressman who was even the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, it is inconceivable that he did not know the illegality or unconstitutionality that tainted his brainchild," Brion said.

"Armed with all these knowledge, it is not hard to believe that he can run circles around the budget and its processes, and did, in fact, purposely use this knowledge for the administration’s objective of gathering the very funds collected under the DAP," the SC justice added.

A short history of Cabinet secretaries who quit, axed (philstar.com) | Updated July 11, 2014 - 2:57pm


File photo of President Aquino and embattled Budget Secretary Florencio Abad.

MANILA, Philippines - With President Aquino declining the resignation of Budget Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad, following the decision of the Supreme Court to strike down the Disbursement Acceleration Program, recent history of the country would show that there were a number of memorable departing from the Cabinet. Let us revisit some of them:

On November 23, 1986, then President Corazon Aquino fired Defense Secretary Juan Ponce-Enrile following intelligence reports that claimed Enrile and members of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) were plotting to overthrow her.

During the term of President Fidel V. Ramos, it is reported that 28 cabinet members left their posts.

Among them was Executive Secretary Peter Garrucho, who quit his post on August 10, 1992, or mere weeks after Ramos' assumption to the presidency. Garrucho was named in a controversy over the issuance of an executive order exempting mining firms from the value-added tax or VAT.

On April 30, 1995, meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Secretary Robert Romulo resigned over perceived bungling of the Flor Contemplacion case.

Then Labor Secretary Nieves Confessor followed Romulo's resignation on June 30, 1995, still over the Contemplacion case.

Also on the same date, Environment Secretary Angel Alcala resigned over alleged anomalies in the DENR.

On April 16, 1997, Transportation and Communication Secretary Amado S. Lagdameo also quit his post for allegedly failing to stop the graft-ridden PEA-Amari deal.

Not all quit their post, however.

* On March 22, 1991 Health Secretary Hilarion Ramiro Jr. was sacked by Ramos following allegations of corruption in the acquisition of medical supplies.

Under the administration of President Joseph Estrada, meanwhile, then chief of staff Aprodicio Laquian, who had renounced his application for Canadian citizenship to be appointed as a member of the Cabinet, was sacked in March 2000 following the latter's joke about Estrada's drinking sessions with the "midnight Cabinet."

Just before Estrada was ousted in a popuar uprising in 2001, then Vice-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who was the concurrent Social Welfare secretary, resigned her Cabinet position following allegations that Estrada pocketed jueteng payoffs.

Following Arroyo's resignation, then Trade Secretary Mar Roxas also quit his post.

On the other hand, under Arroyo's presidency, the most memorable resignation was that of the so-called "Hyatt 10", composed of Social Welfare Secretary Corazon "Dinky" Soliman, Budget Secretary Emilia Boncodin, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Agrarian Reform Secretary Rene Villa, Trade Secretary Juan Santos, National Anti-Poverty Commission Lead Convenor Imelda Nicolas, Interval Revenue chief Guillermo Parayno, Customs chief Alberto Lina, and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles.

These officials tendered their resignation following the revelations of wiretapped recordings of the telephone conversations between Arroyo and then poll commissioner Virgilio Garcillano that supported claims that the 2004 polls were rigged in favor of Arroyo, then incumbent president.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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