DAP has permission of President: Palace-A A +A
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
(UPDATED) Malacanang admitted Tuesday that President Benigno Aquino III gave his nod on the controversial disbursement acceleration program (DAP).
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said that when the DAP was announced in October 2011, Aquino was aware of it.
"The President approved it," she said.
But she was quick to say that the DAP was legal, citing Article VI, Section 2, Paragraph 5 of the Constitution and the Administrative Code, which both provide on the authority of the President to use savings for certain purposes.
She said that the DAP could not be a ground for the President's impeachment.
"We obviously do not agree that that mechanism known as DAP does not have any legal basis," she said.
Some quarters have been questioning the constitutionality of DAP after the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) revealed that some senators and congressmen were allowed to identify projects to be funded under DAP.
Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, for one, said DAP is illegal, because it was not contained in the 2011 or 2012 budgets; and the alleged savings were used to augment new budget items which was not previously authorized by Congress.
The senator had the impression that DAP funds were taken from slow-moving projects. Following this line, Santiago said no savings were generated, thus, the DAP is illegal.
Senate President Franklin Drilon, meanwhile, shrugged off actor Robin Padilla’s call to resign after he admitted receiving P100 million for projects to be funded by DAP.
"I think Padilla got it all wrong," Drilon said. "It's not like I pocketed P100 million in kickbacks."
Drilon said he used his DAP allocation for the construction of the Iloilo Convention Center in Iloilo City, which is bidding to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation ministerial meeting in 2015.
"That I admitted receiving P100 million in DAP funds was not like I admitted committing a crime. On the contrary, I was only doing my role in helping prime the economy that was needed at that time," he said.
He said the DAP contains a list of infrastructure projects recommended by legislators and local government officials to be implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
Padilla criticized Drilon on image-sharing application Instagram, posting a photo of the senator with the body of a pig. The photo was entitled "Pig and Politician Crossbreeding." Drilon was the Justice Secretary when Padilla spent time in jail for illegal possession of firearms in the 1990s.
The DAP issue came about after Senator Jinggoy Estrada, in his privilege speech recently, disclosed that there were senators, including him, who received P50 million after the impeachment of former Chief Justice Renato Corona.
But the Palace and even the DBM have denied that they bribed the senators to impeach Corona through DAP.
Valte also denied that the DAP was another form of pork barrel.
She explained that DAP is a program that identifies fast-moving government projects that could be accorded additional funding from savings and was used to fast track disbursements and push economic growth in light of the global slowdown and the onslaught of recent calamities.
"Perhaps, at this point, it would be good to point out that while some are attempting to paint DAP with the same brush as they have done with PDAF, it’s good to just go through the information that we have already released on this, since the inception of the DAP in 2011," Valte said.
She added the idea that the initial tranche of P72.11-billion of the DAP approved in 2011 went entirely to lawmakers is a misconception.
"That is a misconception because I can tell you now that a very big percentage of the fund was actually coursed through the implementing agencies themselves; meaning, agencies in the executive," Valte said. (SDR/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)