AQUINO VS JUDICIARY: NOY FEROCIOUSLY DEFENDED DAP, WARNS SC OF CLASH

INQUIRER: JULY 15 --The Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) built 66,800 classrooms. DAP energized 6,163 sitios (sub-village). DAP improved irrigation systems. So President Benigno Aquino III is wondering why the Supreme Court declared DAP as unconstitutional. Facing the public for the first time since the DAP debacle, Aquino, in a televised speech Monday, told the high court justices: “Your decision is difficult to understand.” In his speech, Aquino ferociously defended the now defunct DAP and vowed to appeal the Supreme Court 13-0 decision declaring parts of it unconstitutional. Executive vs Judiciary --His tone turned combative when he warned the judiciary of a possible clash with the executive branch over its decision to strike down DAP. Although saying he did not want the two equal branches of government to clash, the President questioned the high court’s decision and its implications on public. “My message to the Supreme Court: we don’t want to get to a point where two co-equal branches of government would clash and where a third branch would have to mediate,” Aquino said.
Then Aquino raised an intriguing matter: “There was something that you did in the past, which you tried to do again, and there are those who are saying that [the DAP decision] is worse.” “They want savings declared only at the 31st of December of each year. If that were the case, when would the government be free to utilize these funds?” Aquino asked. Pinning the blame on the Supreme Court, he said the decision would result in benefits being delayed.
“All in all, almost two years would have passed before the benefits of funds would redound to the people,” he said.
Aquino also criticized the part of the SC ruling questioning the Executive’s “good faith.” * READ MORE...

ALSO: DAP is good — Aquino insists

MANNILA BULLETIN: JULY 15 --‘DON’T BAR US’ – President Aquino defends the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) as he called on the Supreme Court not to bar the government from implementing its reform program. “DAP is good. Our intentions, our processes, and the results were correct.” President Aquino stressed this last night as he arduously defended his government’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and its beneficial effects to the nation. In a national address aired live on television, President Aquino announced that the government will file a motion for reconsideration on the Supreme Court’s (SC’s) unanimous decision against the DAP. The President also called on the SC to review its decision on DAP and “not bar” the government from implementing its reform program, citing its gains that benefited the people and boosted economic growth. “We will appeal the Supreme Court’s decision. We will do this by filing a motion for reconsideration, which will allow them to more fully and more conscientiously examine the law,” the President said in Filipino before an audience that included Cabinet members, administration lawmakers, members of the civil society, and the religious sector in Malacañang. Recognizing that mounting a legal challenge to the SC decision may be a long shot, the President still called on the Highn Tribunal to “help us help our countrymen.”  “We ask that you review your decision, this time taking into consideration the points I have raised tonight. The nation hopes for your careful deliberation and response. And I hope that once you’ve examined the arguments I will submit, regarding the law and about our economy, solidarity will ensue – thus strengthening the entire government’s capability to push for the interests of the nation,” he said.

NO APOLOGY ON DAP; AQUINO INSISTS MOVE WAS LEGAL, WILL ASK SC TO REVIEW RULING

MALAYA: JULY 15 --PRESIDENT Aquino yesterday said the government will ask the Supreme Court to review its decision declaring parts of the Disbursement Acceleration Program unconstitutional, and to consider the basis for the creation of the funding program which he said has benefited a lot of the Filipinos. The President, during a 20-minute public address that was carried live in all media broadcast networks, also said Malacañang would ask Congress to come up with a supplemental budget to ensure that the implementation of the affected DAP-funded projects would not be hampered or stopped. Aquino defended the DAP as Palace officials have been doing, even before the Supreme Court issued its decision on July 1. Palace spokesmen have been saying government would not apologize for the DAP implementation which government said has been stopped last year after it achieved its purpose, which was to pump-prime the economy. After Aquino’s speech, Malacañang released a list of 116 projects funded by the DAP. Aquino’s opponents at the House said the President has effectively declared war against the Supreme Court for questioning its ruling. “Ayaw na igalang ang batas at institusyon. He (Aquino) is the law. It is legal when he says so,” said Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco, secretary general of the United Nationalist Alliance. Tiangco said the President’s speech was “worse than DAP itself – it shows total disrespect for the Constitution.” “Tinakot pa at sinisi ang Supreme Court. It’s very dangerous,” he said. Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said the President did not only declare war against the High Court but also “wasted the opportunity to divulge all the details of the DAP and wasted the time of the people.” “His use of Section 39 of the 1987 Administration Code is not even right because the section pertains to savings. The Supreme Court said that DAP was not savings therefore Section 39 does not apply. Also, a mere administration code cannot trump the Constitution,” he said. Aquino stressed that the DAP is good and not in any way like the Priority Development Assistance Fund which was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in November last year. “We will appeal the Supreme Court’s decision. We will do this by filing a motion for reconsideration, which will allow them to more fully and more conscientiously examine the law,” the President said, acknowledging the odds of going against a 13-0 Supreme Court decision. * READ MORE...

ALSO By Nestor Mata: THE ‘BRAINS’ BEHIND DAP 

THE truth about the latest of scandals which have flooded President Noynoy Aquino’s administration for four years now cannot be denied. No matter how he and his allies in Congress and Palace mouthpieces may twist the facts to protect him from responsibility for the illegal disbursements of billions in public funds, they cannot escape the whole truth. We’re referring to the presidential pork barrel funds, disguised as the Disbursement Allocation Program or DAP and its programs and projects, which were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the Philippines. Since then, there have been surges of demands for accountability by President Aquino from various public sectors, including the petitioners who successfully challenged the DAP before the high tribunal, a former senator who used to be the Executive Secretary of President Cory Aquino, a former national treasurer, deans of university law schools, critics in politics and media, youth and militant groups, and even the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines. Some of them pointed to President Aquino as the “brains” behind the DAP, others cited not only Aquino but his Budget Secretary Florencio Abad as the “primary actors” while the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Commission on Audit (COA), the Commission on Elections as the “other actors” involved in the anomalous DAP. Former Senator Joker Arroyo, who was once called the “Little President” in Cory Aquino’s administration, described her son Noynoy as an “evil genius” who now has complete control over the entire government, and that “the situation is chaotic... It’s very scary. The government has no direction.” And, although “encouraged” that the DAP was deemed unconstitutional, Arroyo said that Aquino “is unlikely to be impeached because of his control over Congress.” An Aquino administration ally, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, admitted that “Malacañang was wrong” but he quickly described the unconstitutional acts of the President and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad as “an honest mistake.” This was refuted by former National Treasurer Leonor Briones, lead convenor of the Social Watch Philippines, who was among the petitioners that succeeded in challenging the constitutionality of DAP. She categorically said President Aquino’s Budget Secretary Florencio Abad told the high tribunal that DAP was crafted upon “upon instruction of the President.” Briones, who is also a professor emeritus of the University of the Philippines, said, “It is the responsibility of the Executive to defend the Constitution. Has the Constitution been defended? No! DAP offends the Constitution.” This was confirmed by another petitioner, Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes, who disclosed that there were seven documents submitted to the Supreme Court which showed Aquino approved and signed the release of the DAP funds, including the millions disbursed to senators and congressmen at the height of the impeachment trial against then Chief Justice Renato Corona. * READ MORE...

ALSO by Former Press Secretary Hector R. Villanueva: Illusions of change  

MANILA BULLETIN: JULY 15 --“We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task is to find reality.” — Iris Murdock  --After three years in office, and 18 working months remaining of his mandate, President Benigno Noynoy Simeon Aquino III, at closer scrutiny, has not achieved any earthshaking, dramatic, inclusive, novel, and game-changing reformation in Philippine society as his legacy and remembrance to the Filipino people. Ironically, the controversial and contested Reproductive Health (RH) law could conceivably be his only lasting legacy to the next generation. That is, after three years, there have not been any fundamental structural reforms in the three branches of government, or any visible ethos revolution in the psyche of the people. Hence, judging from his unrealistic speeches, President Noy Aquino may be living in a world of illusion and fantasies which are allright provided that they are converted into action and reality. It is reminded that packing the judiciary with favorites; jailing former President Gloria Arroyo; Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, Sen. Bong Revilla; impeaching Chief Justice Renato Corona; and systematically eliminating political rivals cannot be considered reforms. Moreover, the abolition of the PDAF by accident of circumstances cannot be conceived as a reformist act. Neither the machiavellian DAP scheme nor CAB nor EDCA constitutes fundamental reforms. These are expediencies and innovations that have their own usefulness and exigencies. Reforms or good governance consist of a clear articulation of purpose pari-passu with operational and legislative action plans. For example, the successful Fidel V. Ramos administration, among other achievements, will be forever remembered for dismantling trade barriers, and liberalizing telecommunications, shipping, banking, transportation, insurance, agriculture, infrastructure, and other sweeping reforms which dramatically changed the economic landscape. In the United States, the Obamacare policy, though unpopular among Republicans, which aims to cover and reach out to the least able citizens to enroll and avail of medicare and insurance is, to most Americans, a radical reformist departure for which President Barack Obama continues to receive flak. In China, under President Xi Jinping, China is launching and undergoing a gigantic paradigm shift from naked, unstoppable, and relentless pursuit of productivity, profits, and exports to greater focus on people, consumer welfare, health, education, and humanitarian concerns which will entail massive cost realignment, economic slow down, painful transition, and policy redirection. * CONTINUE READING....


READ FULL MEDIA NEWS REPORT:

Aquino vs Judiciary?


Facing the public for the first time since the DAP debacle, Aquino, in a televised speech Monday, told the high court justices: “Your decision is difficult to understand.”

MANILA, JULY 15, 2014 (INQUIRER) By Kristine Angeli Sabillo, 6:20 pm, Monday, July 14th, 2014 MANILA TIME –The Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) built 66,800 classrooms. DAP energized 6,163 sitios (sub-village).

DAP improved irrigation systems. So President Benigno Aquino III is wondering why the Supreme Court declared DAP as unconstitutional.

Facing the public for the first time since the DAP debacle, Aquino, in a televised speech Monday, told the high court justices: “Your decision is difficult to understand.”

In his speech, Aquino ferociously defended the now defunct DAP and vowed to appeal the Supreme Court 13-0 decision declaring parts of it unconstitutional.

Executive vs Judiciary

His tone turned combative when he warned the judiciary of a possible clash with the executive branch over its decision to strike down DAP.

Although saying he did not want the two equal branches of government to clash, the President questioned the high court’s decision and its implications on public.

“My message to the Supreme Court: we don’t want to get to a point where two co-equal branches of government would clash and where a third branch would have to mediate,” Aquino said.

Then Aquino raised an intriguing matter: “There was something that you did in the past, which you tried to do again, and there are those who are saying that [the DAP decision] is worse.”

“They want savings declared only at the 31st of December of each year. If that were the case, when would the government be free to utilize these funds?” Aquino asked.

Pinning the blame on the Supreme Court, he said the decision would result in benefits being delayed.

“All in all, almost two years would have passed before the benefits of funds would redound to the people,” he said.

Aquino also criticized the part of the SC ruling questioning the Executive’s “good faith.”

* Where is the principle of “innocent until proven guilty”? Aquino asked.

He claimed that the SC did not even consider the legal basis of DAP.

He reiterated that Section 39 of the 1987 Administration Code justified the DAP through the following provision: “Except as otherwise provided in the General Appropriations Act, any savings in the regular appropriations authorized 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….”

Encouraging the high court to take another look, Aquino said, “It is clear that the Supreme Court has much to consider that they may better clarify their decision regarding DAP.”|

On July 1, the high court said the DAP, which allegedly aimed to pump prime the economy, violated the Philippine Constitution by withdrawing unobligated allotments from agencies and declaring the amount as saving, allowing cross-border transfers of savings from the Executive to other offices, funding of projects and programs not specified in the General Appropriations Act and the use of unprogrammed funds without certification from the National Treasurer.

Not PDAF

Before the SC ruling, the DAP has been linked to the pork barrel scam, with some accusing lawmakers and Janet Lim-Napoles of diverting and misusing the fund.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said that while the Executive can account for 91 percent of the DAP funds allocated to its agencies, it will still have to look into the other nine percent endorsed by lawmakers.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima already said that the National Bureau of Investigation was probing the alleged misuse of the DAP.

But the President insisted was different from the Priority Development Assistance Fund.

“There are also those who say that DAP and PDAF are the same thing. Excuse me. DAP is different from PDAF,” Aquino said.

“With PDAF, the corrupt funneled government funds into fake NGOs, money then allegedly divided among themselves. It’s clear that with DAP the people’s money was never stolen—the funds were used for the benefit of Filipinos,” he added.

Aquino said even the Supreme Court, the World Bank and critics of DAP admitted that the projects funded by the program helped improve the economy.

Use it or lose it

Throughout his speech, the President emphasized the DAP’s aim of hastening the implementation of projects.
“The Cabinet agreed, regarding their respective funds: Use it or lose it. If you cannot use the funds allotted for this year, clearly, those are savings,” Aquino said.

At one point, he blamed the previous administration for its turtle-paced implementation of projects.

“Without doubt, any good leader would want to implement projects that benefit the public at the soonest possible time. I do not see any reason to delay benefits for our countrymen, especially because we have the wherewithal to alleviate their plight. It is clear that if you delay the benefits due them, you prolong the suffering of the Filipino people,” Aquino said.

FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

DAP is good — Aquino insists by Ellalyn De Vera July 15, 2014


‘DON’T BAR US’ – President Aquino defends the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) as he called on the Supreme Court not to bar the government from implementing its reform program. (Richard Viñas)

“DAP is good. Our intentions, our processes, and the results were correct.”

President Aquino stressed this last night as he arduously defended his government’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and its beneficial effects to the nation.

In a national address aired live on television, President Aquino announced that the government will file a motion for reconsideration on the Supreme Court’s (SC’s) unanimous decision against the DAP.

The President also called on the SC to review its decision on DAP and “not bar” the government from implementing its reform program, citing its gains that benefited the people and boosted economic growth.

“We will appeal the Supreme Court’s decision. We will do this by filing a motion for reconsideration, which will allow them to more fully and more conscientiously examine the law,” the President said in Filipino before an audience that included Cabinet members, administration lawmakers, members of the civil society, and the religious sector in Malacañang.

Recognizing that mounting a legal challenge to the SC decision may be a long shot, the President still called on the Highn Tribunal to “help us help our countrymen.”

“We ask that you review your decision, this time taking into consideration the points I have raised tonight. The nation hopes for your careful deliberation and response. And I hope that once you’ve examined the arguments I will submit, regarding the law and about our economy, solidarity will ensue – thus strengthening the entire government’s capability to push for the interests of the nation,” he said.

Aquino said he does not want the two branches of government – the executive and the judiciary – “to go head to head” and require a third branch to intervene.

‘DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND’

But he admitted that he found “difficult to understand” the SC decision that ruled parts of the DAP unconstitutional.

“You had done something similar in the past, and you tried to do it again; there are even those of the opinion that what you attempted to commit was far graver. Abiding by the principle of ‘presumption of regularity,’ we assumed that you did the right thing; after all, you are the ones who should ostensibly have a better understanding of the law. And now, when we use the same mechanism – which, you yourselves have admitted, benefit our countrymen – why is it then that we are wrong?” Aquino told the Supreme Court.

‘DON’T BAR US’

“To the Supreme Court, our message: Do not bar us from doing what we swore to do. Shouldn’t you be siding with us in pushing for reform? Let us, therefore, end this vicious cycle that has taken our people hostage,” he added.

The government has until July 19 to file a motion for reconsideration before the Supreme Court, according to Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda.

In the same speech, the President argued that DAP is unlike the controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), saying his government did not steal any public funds.

He explained that DAP, backed by the Administrative Code of 1987, allowed the government to use savings to fund fast-moving projects to stimulate economic growth from 2011 to 2013.

“There are also those who say that DAP and PDAF are the same thing. Excuse me. DAP is different from PDAF. With PDAF, the corrupt funneled government funds into fake NGOs, money then allegedly divided among themselves. It’s clear that with DAP the people’s money was never stolen – the funds were used for the benefit of Filipinos. And not later, not soon; but now: Programs that could be implemented immediately were implemented immediately,” Aquino said.

SC LEFT OUT PALACE BASIS

In laying down government’s case, the President said he was surprised that the SC decision did not consider the administration’s legal basis for DAP, the Administrative Code.

“How can they say that our spending methods are unconstitutional when they did not look into our basis? Even until now, Section 39 of the Administrative Code is in effect, along with its other sections,” he said.

Book IV, Chapter 5, Section 39 of the Administrative Code of 1987 states that, “Except as otherwise provided in the General Appropriations Act, any savings in the regular appropriations authorized 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…”

“As you can see, this law openly gives the President the power to transfer savings to other projects. It does not limit the transfer to only one department or branch of government. In other words: We did not transgress the law when we implemented DAP. The Constitution and the Administrative Code are not at odds with each other,” the President said.

Aquino also questioned why the High Court did not presume good faith on the part of public officials who crafted and implemented the DAP.

“In their decision, the judges immediately presume the absence of good faith, which would then have to be proven through trial. What happened to the principle of innocent until proven guilty?” Aquino said.

READ SC DECISION

In the next few days, the President said he and his Cabinet as well as some beneficiaries of DAP will provide more details about the program.

He also encouraged the public to read the decision of the Supreme Court, as well as their concurring and dissenting opinions “so that you may better understand what I have said tonight.”

Aquino also announced he would seek a supplemental budget from Congress to fund the projects previously bankrolled by DAP.

“For those concerned regarding the programs that had received funding but have been put on hold because we need to follow the decision of the Supreme Court, do not worry. We will return to Congress to ask for a supplemental budget to ensure that all benefits are delivered,” he said.

Towards the end of the speech, the President said he hopes the public will better understand the situation.

“Bosses, I promise you: I will not allow your suffering to be prolonged – especially if we could do what we can as early as now,” he said, earning loud applause from the audience.

FROM THE MALAYA BUSINESS INSIGHTS

NO APOLOGY ON DAP; AQUINO INSISTS MOVE WAS LEGAL, WILL ASK SC TO REVIEW RULING By WENDELL VIGILIA... | July 15, 2014

PRESIDENT Aquino yesterday said the government will ask the Supreme Court to review its decision declaring parts of the Disbursement Acceleration Program unconstitutional, and to consider the basis for the creation of the funding program which he said has benefited a lot of the Filipinos.

The President, during a 20-minute public address that was carried live in all media broadcast networks, also said Malacañang would ask Congress to come up with a supplemental budget to ensure that the implementation of the affected DAP-funded projects would not be hampered or stopped.

Aquino defended the DAP as Palace officials have been doing, even before the Supreme Court issued its decision on July 1.

Palace spokesmen have been saying government would not apologize for the DAP implementation which government said has been stopped last year after it achieved its purpose, which was to pump-prime the economy.

After Aquino’s speech, Malacañang released a list of 116 projects funded by the DAP.

Aquino’s opponents at the House said the President has effectively declared war against the Supreme Court for questioning its ruling.

“Ayaw na igalang ang batas at institusyon. He (Aquino) is the law. It is legal when he says so,” said Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco, secretary general of the United Nationalist Alliance.

Tiangco said the President’s speech was “worse than DAP itself – it shows total disrespect for the Constitution.”

“Tinakot pa at sinisi ang Supreme Court. It’s very dangerous,” he said.

Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said the President did not only declare war against the High Court but also “wasted the opportunity to divulge all the details of the DAP and wasted the time of the people.”

“His use of Section 39 of the 1987 Administration Code is not even right because the section pertains to savings. The Supreme Court said that DAP was not savings therefore Section 39 does not apply. Also, a mere administration code cannot trump the Constitution,” he said.

Aquino stressed that the DAP is good and not in any way like the Priority Development Assistance Fund which was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in November last year.

“We will appeal the Supreme Court’s decision. We will do this by filing a motion for reconsideration, which will allow them to more fully and more conscientiously examine the law,” the President said, acknowledging the odds of going against a 13-0 Supreme Court decision.

* There is no date yet when the motion will be filed but the Executive has until July 19 to file one.

Aquino said the executive branch is not challenging a co-equal branch of government. The executive is merely seeking clarification of the tribunal’s decision, he said.

“We do not want two equal branches of government to go head to head, needing a third branch to step in to intervene. We find it difficult to understand your decision…Abiding by the principle of ‘presumption of regularity,’ we assumed that you did the right thing; after all, you are the ones who should ostensibly have a better understanding of the law. And now, when we use the same mechanism which, you yourselves have admitted, benefit our countrymen, why is it then that we are wrong?” he said.

Aquino said the creation of DAP was based on various provisions of the law, including the 1987 Administrative Code of the Philippines which he said was not even considered by the Supreme Court when it issued its ruling.

He said Book VI, Chapter 5, Section 39 of the 1987 Administrative Code clearly states that the President has the authority to transfer savings to other projects.

“In other words, we did not transgress the law when we implemented DAP. The Constitution and the Administrative Code are not at odds with each other. In fact, we were surprised to find that the Supreme Court decision did not take into account our legal basis for DAP. How can they say that our spending methods are unconstitutional when they did not look into our basis? Even until now, Section 39 of the Administrative Code is in effect, along with its other sections,” he added.

He expressed hope that the Supreme Court would think of what is best for the Filipino people and help the administration help the Filipinos.

“We ask that you review your decision, this time taking into consideration the points I have raised…The nation hopes for your careful deliberation and response. And I hope that once you’ve examined the arguments I will submit, regarding the law and about our economy, solidarity will ensue, thus strengthening the entire government’s capability to push for the interests of the nation,” he said.

Aquino reiterated that the DAP was good along with the intentions behind it.

He said it was part of the reforms that the administration is taking to ensure the immediate delivery of services and benefits to the people faster and more efficiently especially after the problems and irregularities that he said his administration inherited from his predecessor.

“We are now righting the wrongs in the system, so that it may work towards this goal: To uphold the interests of the people, our Bosses who handed us our mandate. Thus, to the Supreme Court, our message: Do not bar us from doing what we swore to do. Shouldn’t you be siding with us in pushing for reform? Let us, therefore, end this vicious cycle that has taken our people hostage,” he added.

Several officials were with the President when he delivered his message from the Heroes’ Hall in Malacañang, including Vice President Jejomar Binay, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, and Senators Cynthia Villar, Loren Legarda and Bam Aquino. Members of the business sector and religious sector were also present during the event.

Colmenares said the SC “was right in declaring the DAP unconstitutional and it should uphold its decision even if Malacañang files a motion for reconsideration.”

“It is through the DAP that President Aquino usurped the power of Congress and it transformed the budget into his presidential pork. DAP is pork barrel and it must be abolished,” he said.

Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga, an administration ally, said the President’s message was crystal clear: that his government cannot just stand and watch the people suffer because of slow public spending.

“People’s lives are at stake here and for every delay, it is the citizens, especially the poorest of the poor, who bear the brunt of an inefficient system of spending,” said Barzaga, a member of the National Unity Party, Barzaga, a lawyer, also said the President was correct in pointing out that the Supreme Court appears to have disregarded the basis of the program – the 1987 Administrative Code.

“We urge the Supreme Court to take a second look at the issue and consider the principle of presumption of innocence before handing out a final ruling,” he said.

P167 BILLION DAP PROJECTS

Malacañang last night released the list of 116 projects that the were implemented and funded through the DAP.

It showed that as of this month, P144.378 billion of the P167.051 billion for approved projects had been released and spent.

The list signed by Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said that as of 4:30 p.m. of July 14, there is still a balance of P13.612 billion.

At least P85.499 billion of DAP-funded projects were approved in 2011, but P78.391 billion was released.

In 2012, some P71.228 billion worth of projects had been approved but only P57.019 billion was released. In 2013, P10.334 billion in projects were approved and P8.97 billion was released.

Of the 116 projects, the biggest bulk of the DAP, P20 billion was used in December 2012 as equity infusion to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ Authorized Capital Stock. The amount is a partial settlement of the P30-billion balance of the national government’s subscription to the authorized capital stock and seeks to strengthen the BSPs’ mandate to ensure monetary and fiscal stability.

An initial P10 billion from DAP was used as equity infusion to the BSP in October 2011.

Another P10 billion was released to the National Housing Authority for in-city construction of medium-rise buildings for some 20,000 informal settler families who were removed from dangerous areas in Metro Manila.

MALAYA OPINION

THE ‘BRAINS’ BEHIND DAP By NESTOR MATA | July 15, 2014


By NESTOR MATA

THE truth about the latest of scandals which have flooded President Noynoy Aquino’s administration for four years now cannot be denied. No matter how he and his allies in Congress and Palace mouthpieces may twist the facts to protect him from responsibility for the illegal disbursements of billions in public funds, they cannot escape the whole truth.

We’re referring to the presidential pork barrel funds, disguised as the Disbursement Allocation Program or DAP and its programs and projects, which were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the Philippines.

Since then, there have been surges of demands for accountability by President Aquino from various public sectors, including the petitioners who successfully challenged the DAP before the high tribunal, a former senator who used to be the Executive Secretary of President Cory Aquino, a former national treasurer, deans of university law schools, critics in politics and media, youth and militant groups, and even the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.

Some of them pointed to President Aquino as the “brains” behind the DAP, others cited not only Aquino but his Budget Secretary Florencio Abad as the “primary actors” while the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Commission on Audit (COA), the Commission on Elections as the “other actors” involved in the anomalous DAP.

Former Senator Joker Arroyo, who was once called the “Little President” in Cory Aquino’s administration, described her son Noynoy as an “evil genius” who now has complete control over the entire government, and that “the situation is chaotic... It’s very scary. The government has no direction.” And, although “encouraged” that the DAP was deemed unconstitutional, Arroyo said that Aquino “is unlikely to be impeached because of his control over Congress.”

An Aquino administration ally, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, admitted that “Malacañang was wrong” but he quickly described the unconstitutional acts of the President and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad as “an honest mistake.”

This was refuted by former National Treasurer Leonor Briones, lead convenor of the Social Watch Philippines, who was among the petitioners that succeeded in challenging the constitutionality of DAP. She categorically said President Aquino’s Budget Secretary Florencio Abad told the high tribunal that DAP was crafted upon “upon instruction of the President.” Briones, who is also a professor emeritus of the University of the Philippines, said, “It is the responsibility of the Executive to defend the Constitution. Has the Constitution been defended? No! DAP offends the Constitution.”

This was confirmed by another petitioner, Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes, who disclosed that there were seven documents submitted to the Supreme Court which showed Aquino approved and signed the release of the DAP funds, including the millions disbursed to senators and congressmen at the height of the impeachment trial against then Chief Justice Renato Corona.

* So far, only former Congressman Augusto Syjuco and lawyer Oliver Lozano have filed, separately, impeachment cases against President Aquino. Syjuco claimed that he was the first to file the complaint with the records management service of the House of Representatives, while Lozano filed his case before the Office of the Ombudsman. “President Aquino violated the law and his own oath of office,” Syjuco said. “This is the biggest plunder in Philippine history!” He cited three impeachable grounds against Aquino, namely, “bribery, betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution.”

Other voices calling for President Aquino’s impeachment were heard from various youth and militant groups while staging rallies in Manila’s streets, including outside the gates of Malacañang. And even Catholic bishops have joined the public demands for pinpointing responsibility for the illegal disbursements of billions of the public funds money under the unconstitutionally-flawed DAP.

When asked whether CBCP would support calls to impeach the Aquino, Archbishop Socrates Villegas, CBCP president, replied” “Will the impeachment of President Aquino promote the common good? If so, then it is up to those in power to make a moral decision.”

Who then should be held responsible and liable for all those illegal misuse of billions of the people’s money – President Aquino and his Cabinet members? Of 10,445 respondents to that question, according to the latest internet poll survey conducted by Yahoo News Philippines, 71% answered” “Yes!”; 25% said “No!”; and 4% replied, “Don’t Care!”

Well, as editorialists, pundits and critics in media and academe have pointed out, the unconstitutionally of the presidential pork barrel under the guise of DAP has demolished the notion that the Aquino regime is “a tower of morality and probity” and transformed President Aquino’s presidency into a “moral lame duck.”

As we all have seen in the past four years, President Aquino has committed a series of other highly questionable official actions, blunders and failures. To cite a few examples, his failure to reduce criminality; failure to restore to normality the lives of victims of typhoons and other calamities; failure to attain food security that consequently resulted in high prices and shortages of rice and basic food commodities; failure to reduce corrupt practices; failure to substantially reduce the country’s massive poverty condition; failure to reduce unemployment; failure to reduce unemployment; failure to establish a comprehensive peace to end the separatist war against the government in Muslim Mindanao and Sulu.

All these and more blunders, mistakes and scandals during President Aquino’s first four years could very well lead to his indictment and ouster before the end of his six-year-term in office in 2016. I have publicly called for what many other presidential watchers in media and academe have been saying for months that the time for impeaching the President has come.

Indeed, Noynoy Aquino’s presidency is historically unparalleled. He has been judged as the worst president ever since the beginning of the Third Republic of the Philippines!

***

Quote of the Day: “A President should know that his friends are not always his allies, and that his adversaries are not his enemies!” – Anonymous Political Commenter.

FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Illusions of change by Former Press Secretary Hector R. Villanueva
July 14, 2014


By Hector R. Villanueva
[Former Press Secretary Hector R. Villanueva Chaff From The Grain He writes for his regular column, “Chaff From The Grain,” found at the Manila Bulletin. In one of his article, he wrote, “Honesty is not enough. The nation expects progress, and the Filipino people want action and fast which do not seem to be happening.” He has served as the Postmaster General and CEO of the Philippine Postal Corporation, and was also Press Secretary during the Ramos administration (June 21, 1995-June 29, 1998).]

“We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task is to find reality.” — Iris Murdock

After three years in office, and 18 working months remaining of his mandate, President Benigno Noynoy Simeon Aquino III, at closer scrutiny, has not achieved any earthshaking, dramatic, inclusive, novel, and game-changing reformation in Philippine society as his legacy and remembrance to the Filipino people.

Ironically, the controversial and contested Reproductive Health (RH) law could conceivably be his only lasting legacy to the next generation.

That is, after three years, there have not been any fundamental structural reforms in the three branches of government, or any visible ethos revolution in the psyche of the people.

Hence, judging from his unrealistic speeches, President Noy Aquino may be living in a world of illusion and fantasies which are allright provided that they are converted into action and reality.

It is reminded that packing the judiciary with favorites; jailing former President Gloria Arroyo; Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, Sen. Bong Revilla; impeaching Chief Justice Renato Corona; and systematically eliminating political rivals cannot be considered reforms.

Moreover, the abolition of the PDAF by accident of circumstances cannot be conceived as a reformist act. Neither the machiavellian DAP scheme nor CAB nor EDCA constitutes fundamental reforms.

These are expediencies and innovations that have their own usefulness and exigencies.

Reforms or good governance consist of a clear articulation of purpose pari-passu with operational and legislative action plans.

For example, the successful Fidel V. Ramos administration, among other achievements, will be forever remembered for dismantling trade barriers, and liberalizing telecommunications, shipping, banking, transportation, insurance, agriculture, infrastructure, and other sweeping reforms which dramatically changed the economic landscape.

In the United States, the Obamacare policy, though unpopular among Republicans, which aims to cover and reach out to the least able citizens to enroll and avail of medicare and insurance is, to most Americans, a radical reformist departure for which President Barack Obama continues to receive flak.

In China, under President Xi Jinping, China is launching and undergoing a gigantic paradigm shift from naked, unstoppable, and relentless pursuit of productivity, profits, and exports to greater focus on people, consumer welfare, health, education, and humanitarian concerns which will entail massive cost realignment, economic slow down, painful transition, and policy redirection.

* For China, it is a fundamental and necessary shift in priorities and focus.

In Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, or “Abenomics,” has launched his three “arrows” of reforms to get Japan back on its feet, namely, (1) a 10-trillion-yen fiscal stimulus, (2) inflation targetting, and (3) structural reforms or growth strategy focusing on three subsidiary concepts (i) challenge or what kind of Japan the Japanese people would want to see, (ii) openness, and (iii) innovation.

These are examples of far-reaching changes.

Thus, going back to the reform agenda of President Noynoy Aquino, what has he accomplished to change or modernize or reform the country or the people?

Where is the reform agenda that President Aquino keeps repeating in his mantra? Where is the roadmap of change? What is the strategy?

Where is the vision and the dream?

You be the judge.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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