AQUINO'S TURN: NO PANIC, WILL TALK TO HIS 'BOSSES' TONITE

JULY 14 --PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III will address the nation Monday night in a bid to convince the public that his discredited Disbursement Acceleration Program was beneficial, almost two weeks after the Supreme Court ruled that acts committed under the program were unconstitutional. Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma denied Sunday that the move was a sign of panic at the Palace amid strong public clamor for full disclosure and accountability of the billions of pesos in public funds diverted to DAP projects. “There is no panic. Our President is very, very calm, and members of the Cabinet and the entire national government continue to do their mandate,” Coloma said. “The decision of the Supreme Court is part of our democratic process, and we also have existing processes as to how the government can seek clarification on the ruling.” “Based on the rules of court, we can ask a motion for reconsideration because the DAP projects are still at different stages of completion,” he added. Aquino has remained silent on the Supreme Court decision, except to make a quick announcement Friday last week that he has rejected the token resignation offered by Budget chief Florencio Abad. A Palace source said results of an internal social media tracking showed that 93 percent of online people polled were against the President’s decision to keep Abad. Coloma said Aquino wanted “a chance to talk to his boss, to the Filipino people.”  * READ MORE...

ALSO: PNoy situation chaotic, very scary, he has destroyed his 'tuwid na daan" --Joker Arroyo  

JULY 13 --FORMER Senator Joker Arroyo on Sunday described President Benigno Aquino III as an “evil genius” who had complete control over the entire government, and said the political situation was frightening because the administration had no sense of direction. “The situation is chaotic. It’s very scary. The government has no direction,” said Arroyo in an interview over radio dzBB. He said Malacanang can no longer wave the banner of “the straight path” unless they can account for the P147 billion that went through the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which the Supreme Court has struck down as unconstitutional. When he was still a senator, Arroyo warned that the Aquino administration was trying to control all the funds of the government. Now, he said, the President had complete control, starting with Congress. Although the President declared that the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel has been abolished, the money has simply gone into lump sum funds, Arroyo said. “The control is with Malacanang so they are the only ones who know where the budget went. And there will be no releases if Malacanang will not approve a budget. Every money that comes from the government now comes from Malacanang. That’s what the public should know,” Arroyo said. He said, however, that he was encouraged that the Supreme Court declared the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) unconstitutional. He said Aquino, who enjoys immunity from suit while in office, and who is unlikely to be impeached because of his control over Congress, has nonetheless destroyed his “straight path” policy. “If Aquino cannot explain where the P147 billion... in DAP funds went, how can he claim honesty and integrity?” Arroyo said. “The question here now is where is the P147 billion or P250 billion disbursements in DAP? He (President) can’t just say that we don’t complain because whatever they spent, it was for the good of the people,” Arroyo said. If the funds were indeed spent on projects that benefited the people, the public has a right to know what these projects were, he said. But until now, he said there is no list of the projects where DAP funds were used. An administration ally, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, however, said while Malacañang lost the DAP battle in the Supreme Court, it is winning the war because the Supreme Court ruling showed that democracy was at work. “Malacanang lost in the sense that it was wrong when he augmented that without items in the budget. It was wrong to consider these savings... But it shows that democracy is alive, it shows checks and balances, it shows the respect of the President for the Supreme Court,” he said. Cayetano described the unconstitutional acts of the President and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad as “an honest mistake.” THIS IS THE FULLL REPORT.

(ALSO) Editorial: No masking the stench 

JULY 14  -ALMOST two weeks after the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that actions taken under the administration’s Disbursement Acceleration Program were unconstitutional, President Aquino is finally set to break his silence on the illegal diversion of billions of pesos in public funds to unauthorized uses. As he did last year when he defended the now-discredited program, the President will address the public in a nationally televised speech later tonight. Incredibly, over the last two weeks, only his minions have spoken up for him. One Palace spokesman had the temerity to castigate the Supreme Court justices for “putting good men” in Mr. Aquino’s Cabinet on the defensive by calling their actions into question. Another said the administration did not regret breaking the law because the diverted money went to good causes. When pressed to provide specifics, the administration refused to provide a list of DAP-funded projects, deepening suspicions that it indeed had something to hide. Not even the architect of the discredited program, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, deemed it necessary to comment on these illegal acts. The Palace said he has been too busy to even read the decision. Under increasing pressure, Abad offered to resign in a sham display of accountability, but left the door open for the President to reject his offer. The President took that door at a Cabinet meeting, saying he turned Abad’s resignation because he could not “accept the notion that doing right by our people is a wrong.” A statement subsequently issued by Abad said he would defer to the President’s “better judgment.” We do not expect President Aquino to stray far from this odious script tonight. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Abad admits responsibility

‘I resigned in accordance with Aquino govt’s highest standards of accountability’ Embattled Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad finally broke his silence yesterday on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which was recently declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court (SC), owning up to its creation and the resulting controversy it stirred on the Aquino administration. “I take full responsibility for my role in developing and implementing the DAP, as well as for the impact of the resulting controversy on the administration’s governance agenda. It was therefore only fitting that I resign,” Abad said in a statement, his first since the SC ruling. WHY ABAD OFFERED TO QUIT In the same statement, Abad said resigning from his post was in accordance with the “highest standards of accountability” that the Aquino administration holds. Abad, a former congressman representing the lone district of Batanes, offered to resign Thursday, but this was rejected the following day by President Aquino. “On Thursday, I tendered my resignation from my position as DBM (Department of Budget and Management) secretary to the President. This was not without thought or reflection. In the wake of the controversy surrounding the DAP – especially after the adverse Supreme Court ruling that declared parts of the program unconstitutional – it became clear to me that I must abide by the highest standards of accountability that we in the Aquino administration hold ourselves to,” Abad said in his statement. But the President rejected Abad’s resignation as the Chief Executive noted that even his most vociferous critics have recognized the benefits of the DAP. * READ MORE...

 


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Aquino’s turn: No panic, only to explain to ‘bosses’

MANILA, JULY 14, 2014 (MANILA STANDARD) By Joyce Pangco Panares - PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III will address the nation Monday night in a bid to convince the public that his discredited Disbursement Acceleration Program was beneficial, almost two weeks after the Supreme Court ruled that acts committed under the program were unconstitutional.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma denied Sunday that the move was a sign of panic at the Palace amid strong public clamor for full disclosure and accountability of the billions of pesos in public funds diverted to DAP projects.

“There is no panic. Our President is very, very calm, and members of the Cabinet and the entire national government continue to do their mandate,” Coloma said.

“The decision of the Supreme Court is part of our democratic process, and we also have existing processes as to how the government can seek clarification on the ruling.”

“Based on the rules of court, we can ask a motion for reconsideration because the DAP projects are still at different stages of completion,” he added.

Aquino has remained silent on the Supreme Court decision, except to make a quick announcement Friday last week that he has rejected the token resignation offered by Budget chief Florencio Abad.

A Palace source said results of an internal social media tracking showed that 93 percent of online people polled were against the President’s decision to keep Abad.

Coloma said Aquino wanted “a chance to talk to his boss, to the Filipino people.”

* “The President has already read the entire decision -- the main decision and the separate concurring and dissenting opinions of some justices, and after his careful reading and understanding, he has spoken with different Cabinet officials to craft the government’s response to the decision of the Supreme Court which has a wide-ranging and deep implication on our government and on our people,” he said.

“This is why the President wants to talk to our people,” Coloma added.

He said the public can expect the President to disclose “facts and figures” on the DAP, including how much was really spent for the program.

“The President abides by the principle that the Filipino people are his bosses, and it is only fair that he will explain the DAP to his bosses,” Coloma said.

“People should understand why certain policies were implemented to avoid confusion. The President believes that a well-informed citizenry will be able to make well-informed decisions that will affect themselves and the future of the country,” he said.

Asked if the Palace would release pork barrel funds anew to lawmakers to abort the impeachment process at the House of Representatives, Coloma said: “It is the right of our lawmakers to start the impeachment proceedings.”

Earlier, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda criticized the Supreme Court for singling out the Aquino administration in ascribing criminal liability for the DAP acts that have been declared as unconstitutional.

“There have been several acts and issuances issued by the national government in the past that have been declared unconstitutional but were never ascribed criminal liability,” Lacierda said.

“Perhaps (the Supreme Court) should explain why their decision on the DAP is different,” he said, adding that “good men” like Abad have been put in a bad light because of the ruling.

In his opinion, Supreme Court Associate Justice Arturo Brion said Abad was aware that the DAP was unconstitutional from the start.

As a lawyer and with at least 12 years of experience as a congressman, it was “inconceivable that he did not know the illegality or unconstitutionality that tainted his brainchild,” Brion said of Abad.

An administration ally, Senator Francis Escudero, said Sunday that it is the beleaguered Abad who “For me, Secretary Abad should be the one address the public, instead of President Aquino because he is the alter-ego of the President,” Escudero said in an interview with radio dzBB.

Escudero is the chairman of the Senate committee on finance that summoned Abad to appear and submit to the panel the complete list of all the Special Allotment Release Orders (SAROs) that were disbursed under the DAP.

The hearing is a continuation of the previous proceedings by the Senate that were suspended out of courtesy to the Supreme Court, which was hearing several petitions questioning the legality of the DAP.

“You have been asking us which among our programs and projects were funded by the DAP... This is what we have been asking the DBM (Department of Budget and Management) since our last committee hearing: where is the list?” Escudero said.

He also wanted Abad to explain reports that total disbursed funds under the DAP amounted to P372 billion, which did not tally with the list provided by the Budget Department.

“What DBM gave to the committee only amounted to over P200 billion,” Escudero said.

The senator said he would also ask Abad to identify the fund releases under the DAP that were considered unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

“If we want to scrutinize the DAP releases under the guidance of the Supreme Court decision, we need all the papers that only DBM can provide,” Escudero said.

He added: “We are entering the budget season and on the part of the finance committee, we are carefully studying the court decision to ensure that the next budget we will be crafting and approving will be compliant with the Supreme Court decision on the DAP.” – With Joel E. Zurbano

PNoy situation chaotic, very scary, he has destroyed his 'tuwid na daan' Joker Arroyo By Macon Ramos-Araneta | Jul. 07, 2014 at 12:01am


JOKER ARROYO

FORMER Senator Joker Arroyo on Sunday described President Benigno Aquino III as an “evil genius” who had complete control over the entire government, and said the political situation was frightening because the administration had no sense of direction.

“The situation is chaotic. It’s very scary. The government has no direction,” said Arroyo in an interview over radio dzBB.

He said Malacanang can no longer wave the banner of “the straight path” unless they can account for the P147 billion that went through the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which the Supreme Court has struck down as unconstitutional.

When he was still a senator, Arroyo warned that the Aquino administration was trying to control all the funds of the government.

Now, he said, the President had complete control, starting with Congress.

Although the President declared that the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel has been abolished, the money has simply gone into lump sum funds, Arroyo said.

“The control is with Malacanang so they are the only ones who know where the budget went. And there will be no releases if Malacanang will not approve a budget. Every money that comes from the government now comes from Malacanang. That’s what the public should know,” Arroyo said.

He said, however, that he was encouraged that the Supreme Court declared the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) unconstitutional.

He said Aquino, who enjoys immunity from suit while in office, and who is unlikely to be impeached because of his control over Congress, has nonetheless destroyed his “straight path” policy.

“If Aquino cannot explain where the P147 billion... in DAP funds went, how can he claim honesty and integrity?” Arroyo said.

“The question here now is where is the P147 billion or P250 billion disbursements in DAP? He (President) can’t just say that we don’t complain because whatever they spent, it was for the good of the people,” Arroyo said.

If the funds were indeed spent on projects that benefited the people, the public has a right to know what these projects were, he said. But until now, he said there is no list of the projects where DAP funds were used.

An administration ally, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, however, said while Malacañang lost the DAP battle in the Supreme Court, it is winning the war because the Supreme Court ruling showed that democracy was at work.

“Malacanang lost in the sense that it was wrong when he augmented that without items in the budget. It was wrong to consider these savings... But it shows that democracy is alive, it shows checks and balances, it shows the respect of the President for the Supreme Court,” he said.

Cayetano described the unconstitutional acts of the President and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad as “an honest mistake.”

Editorial: No masking the stench By Manila Standard Today | Jul. 14, 2014 at 12:01am

ALMOST two weeks after the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that actions taken under the administration’s Disbursement Acceleration Program were unconstitutional, President Aquino is finally set to break his silence on the illegal diversion of billions of pesos in public funds to unauthorized uses.

As he did last year when he defended the now-discredited program, the President will address the public in a nationally televised speech later tonight.

Incredibly, over the last two weeks, only his minions have spoken up for him.

One Palace spokesman had the temerity to castigate the Supreme Court justices for “putting good men” in Mr. Aquino’s Cabinet on the defensive by calling their actions into question.

Another said the administration did not regret breaking the law because the diverted money went to good causes. When pressed to provide specifics, the administration refused to provide a list of DAP-funded projects, deepening suspicions that it indeed had something to hide.

Not even the architect of the discredited program, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, deemed it necessary to comment on these illegal acts. The Palace said he has been too busy to even read the decision.

Under increasing pressure, Abad offered to resign in a sham display of accountability, but left the door open for the President to reject his offer. The President took that door at a Cabinet meeting, saying he turned Abad’s resignation because he could not “accept the notion that doing right by our people is a wrong.”

A statement subsequently issued by Abad said he would defer to the President’s “better judgment.”

We do not expect President Aquino to stray far from this odious script tonight.

* Throughout his term of office, Mr. Aquino has shown a complete disdain for the law whenever it gets in his way, and respects it only when he can use it to exact vengeance on his political enemies

But Mr. Aquino’s folksy charm and rhetoric cannot cover up several crucial points:

1) That actions that he and Abad took by diverting funds to uses other than those approved by Congress was unconstitutional and illegal. Nowhere in the Constitution or in any of our laws does it say it is all right to break the law if your intentions are good.

2) That billions of pesos in public funds were illegally transferred to projects supported by senators and congressmen, clearly as a reward for their active participation in Mr. Aquino’s vindictive quest to oust his political nemesis, the chief justice of the Supreme Court.

3) That all claims that the money went to worthwhile projects are meaningless until the Palace makes a full accounting of every centavo diverted.

4) That Mr. Aquino himself knew that the impounding of government funds and their diversion to unauthorized uses was illegal, because he had said as much when he was a senator.

5) That Abad, as the justices observed, knew that the DAP was unconstitutional from the start and pushed through with it anyway.

Unless Mr. Aquino can convincingly address these key points, his speech tonight will be as effective as a can of deodorant trying to mask the stench of manure piled up at the Palace doorstep.

FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN


ABD AD AND AQUINO

Abad admits responsibility by Jc Bello Ruiz July 13, 2014

‘I resigned in accordance with Aquino govt’s highest standards of accountability’
Embattled Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad finally broke his silence yesterday on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which was recently declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court (SC), owning up to its creation and the resulting controversy it stirred on the Aquino administration.

“I take full responsibility for my role in developing and implementing the DAP, as well as for the impact of the resulting controversy on the administration’s governance agenda. It was therefore only fitting that I resign,” Abad said in a statement, his first since the SC ruling.

WHY ABAD OFFERED TO QUIT

In the same statement, Abad said resigning from his post was in accordance with the “highest standards of accountability” that the Aquino administration holds.

Abad, a former congressman representing the lone district of Batanes, offered to resign Thursday, but this was rejected the following day by President Aquino.

“On Thursday, I tendered my resignation from my position as DBM (Department of Budget and Management) secretary to the President. This was not without thought or reflection. In the wake of the controversy surrounding the DAP – especially after the adverse Supreme Court ruling that declared parts of the program unconstitutional – it became clear to me that I must abide by the highest standards of accountability that we in the Aquino administration hold ourselves to,” Abad said in his statement.

But the President rejected Abad’s resignation as the Chief Executive noted that even his most vociferous critics have recognized the benefits of the DAP.

* “Yesterday, however, before we deliberated on the proposed 2015 budget, the President announced that he would not accept my resignation. He explained that accepting it was tantamount to acknowledging wrongdoing on my end, contrary to the fact that the DAP – as conceived and implemented – proved beneficial to the country’s economy and the administration’s bid for rapid and inclusive growth,” Abad said.

WHOLLY PREPARED TO LEAVE’

He said that although he “was wholly prepared” to relinquish his post, he had chosen to defer to Aquino’s “better judgment” and stay put.

Abad, one of Aquino’s most loyal allies, said he is grateful for the President’s expression of his continuing trust and confidence in his leadership of the DBM.

In return, he vowed “to do justice to the President’s faith in my integrity and competence.”

“Developments over the last year were not merely instructive; they now spur us within the DBM to carry out our responsibilities with greater vigilance and meticulousness. I assure the people that we will proceed with a keener awareness of the standards against which our work will be measured, but also with a deeper appreciation of the great opportunities for reform ahead of us,” he said.

The DBM Public Information Unit said Abad wanted to release his statement on the President’s rejection of his resignation last Friday, but “found himself very busy while presenting the proposed 2015 National Budget to the President and the Cabinet.”

AQUINO ADDRESS SET MONDAY

Amid the DAP controversy, President Aquino was scheduled to deliver a public address on “current national issues” in Malacañang.

“President Aquino will address the Filipino people on Monday, 14 July 2014, at 6 p.m.,” Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.

Coloma also requested broadcast networks “to air the President’s speech on current national issues.”

The President’s upcoming national address comes amid the administration’s attempts to deflect stinging criticisms over the P140.8-billion DAP, whose key items were recently declared unconstitutional.

His government has been under intense pressure to make certain public officials accountable for the illegal actions under DAP as well as release of the breakdown of spending from 2011 to 2013.

Abad offered to resign, but the President rejected this.

AQUINO DECISION HAILED

Magdalo party-list Rep. Francisco Ashley Acedillo, AKO Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe and Ifugao Rep. Teddy Brawner Baguilat hailed Aquino’s decision not to accept Abad’s resignation.

“The President squarely stood behind the DAP as a program that he approved for implementation by DBM. To let go of Secretary Abad is to give the impression that he can’t take the heat, at ginawa niya lang sacrificial lamb ang DBM secretary for political expediency. I wouldn’t want our President to be that kind of leader, that’s why I support his decision not to accept the resignation,” Acedillo said.

Cavite Rep. Elpidio “Pidi” Barzaga Jr. said calls for Abad’s resignations are “off tangent, especially since there is nothing new with the executive’s use of pooled savings to fund other projects, activities and programs (PAPs).”

“It has long been practiced by the previous administrations and it just so happened that the Supreme Court ruling was issued under the present one,” he explained.

However, United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) secretary general and Navotas City Rep. Toby Tiangco branded the President’s act as “direct insult to the dictums of the Supreme Court as an institution that already declared Abad’s impounding mechanism as unlawful and unconstitutional.”

ABAD READY TO TELL ALL

As this developed, Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said that with or without a Senate inquiry, Abad will be ready to explain all the projects funded by the DAP.

She said the DBM has been busy trying to collate all the documents and the data related to the 116 projects funded by DAP.

Last Friday, the Senate Finance Committee summoned Abad to appear before its public inquiry into the DAP on July 21.

Abad was directed to submit the complete list of all the Special Allotment Release Orders (SARO) that were disbursed under the so-called economic stimulus program of the administration.

“Handa naman po tayo lagi magpaliwanag. Ito naman po iyong lagi nating sinasabi,” Valte said in an interview with government radio dzRB. (We are ready to explain our side as what we have always been saying.)

CHA-CHA FOR DAP

Meanwhile, Liberal Party Rep. Edgardo “Egay” Erice (Caloocan City, 2nd District) challenged the Aquino administration to amend the Constitution in favor of the ill-fated DAP or a similar mechanism.

Erice believes that DAP served its purpose as a boon to the economy, and that the recent SC decision had essentially shackled President Aquino when it ruled parts of the fiscal stimulus program as unconstitutional.

“The SC practically castrated the executive and would render it inutile, with all the ongoing projects bearing the possibility of stoppage and government implementers will be busy against lawsuits rather than on project implementation,” explained Erice.

“For the Aquino government to perform and achieve a legacy of reform, it would need to be bold. The time to Cha-cha (Charter change) has come to age,” the LP congressman said.

“Eventually the SC decision on DAP would have a far reaching and deeper implication, leaving the Aquino government with two extreme options – just coast along until 2016 with the economy slowing down and the reform agenda stalled or take a revolutionary way of leading a change in the Constitution and revamp the present government system.” (With reports from Genalyn D. Kabiling, Charissa M. Luci, and Ellson A. Quismorio)


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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