The President's Folly

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By Briccio Cesar Domondon

The Council Reports

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


IN A recent speech to the public to defend the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), President Benigno Aquino III was seemingly in a combative mood and even warned the Supreme Court (SC) -- who ruled that the DAP is unconstitutional -- of a possible clash with the executive branch of the government because of its decision striking down the DAP.

Once again we observe how the President of the country is being misled and deceived into committing the same mistakes his predecessors had made. If PNOY will insist in defending the DAP and undertake measures to retaliate against the SC thru various means at his disposal then the country better brace itself for another disappointment in its choice of a president to lead the nation.

While we praise Aquino for his courageous stand against graft and corruption in the government and his continuing campaign to uplift the lives of the Filipino people, his 'bosses' must intensify its voice to caution him against committing the same errors that other previous presidents have committed.

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Mr. President the end will never justify the means.

Time and again we have seen well-meaning leaders fall by the wayside because they decided to tinker with the law of the land. Laws that were meant to guide and serve as a yardstick by which the actions of men are to be regulated and controlled. Without laws anarchy and chaos will surely follow.

The president, our Aquino must surely know this, and yet believing that what he has done is for the benefit of the Filipino people he has begun to interpret the laws that he has sworn to simply abide and faithfully execute as is his sworn duty.

This is why the SC, who is the authorized interpreter of the law, saw it fit to strike down as unconstitutional the DAP, for all its good intentions and the perceived benefits it may offer to the people.

Why is this so? Because the SC found out that the DAP being espoused by Aquino obviously violated and is not in accordance with our laws. To be more specific the high tribunal cited the following as in violation of our laws to wit: The withdrawal of unobligated allotments from the implementing agencies and the declaration of the withdrawn unobligated allotments and unreleased appropriations as savings prior to the end of the fiscal year and without complying with the statutory definition of savings contained in the General Appropriations Act. Cross-border transfers of savings of the executive department to offices outside the executive department, and funding of projects, activities, programs not covered by appropriations in the General Appropriations Act.

The president during his speech in defense of the SONA never denied that the DAP had violated our laws of the land - as determined by the SC- but simply extolled the virtue of the system that, according to him, fast tracked the disbursement of funds to those projects and programs that would immediately benefit the Filipino people. And as a means of justifying the implementation of the DAP he said that because of the system the country is now in better condition, economically and otherwise. Of course the President may have missed the point entirely or he may just be ignorant about the repercussions and consequences of his actions regarding the DAP, but with his popularity rating plummeting to an all-time low perhaps it is time for him to listen to what his 'bosses' are saying.

It would indeed be foolhardy for him to think that just because he is president he can run roughshod over his other co-equal branches in the government or attempt to disregard the laws he has sworn to uphold. His off the mark persistence may yet be his undoing as the finest president we could have in the country.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on July 16, 2014.

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