DAP’s constitutionality challenged before SC-A A +A
Friday, October 4, 2013
MANILA -- A former Manila councilor who earlier challenged the constitutionality of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) recently asked the Supreme Court (SC) to declare Malacañang’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) as illegal.
In a 26-page petition, Greco Belgica said Section 25 (5), Article VI of the Constitution prohibits “any transfer of appropriations except to augment any item in the general appropriations law for their respective offices from savings in other items of their respective appropriations.”
Part of the P72-billion DAP went to senators supposedly to secure the ouster of then Chief Justice Renato Corona in his impeachment trial last year. Malacañang denied it was a bribe, saying the fund went to infrastructure projects needed to stimulate the economy following a slowdown in 2011.
“If Congress cannot pass a law transferring appropriations, it follows that the President cannot, by Executive Order, transfer appropriations. What Congress cannot do directly, the President of the Philippines cannot do indirectly,” the petition stated.
Belgica noted that the President cannot put additional funds for another political branch of government, in this case, the legislature.
He said DAP is another example how the Chief Executive is given “wide latitude” in the use of discretionary funds such as the Presidential Social Fund and royalties from the Malampaya gas project in Palawan.
The SC had stopped the President from using the Malampaya fund for purposes other than energy-related programs and projects.
Meanwhile, the Department of Energy (DOE) said Friday that it used DAP to intensify its electrification programs in the rural areas.
The program spearheaded by the National Electrification Administration (NEA) received an estimated amount of P1.5 billion from February 2012 to January 2013 for line connection and enhancement projects to 2,219 sitios nationwide.
"The DOE stresses that we remain with our mandate and that all disbursements are well-accounted for," the department said. (Sunnex)