House Speaker on DAP: Legal, constitutional, logical-A A +A
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
MANILA -- House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. defended the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) implemented by the Budget department under Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad Jr. saying it is "legal, constitutional, and logical."
"Definitely my stand is it is legal, constitutional and logical. What we’re trying to do is jumpstart the spending," Belmonte said in a press conference Wednesday.
"Unlike in the past when we only determine savings at the end of the year, now early in the game we know if we have savings and those who are good implementers. Why would you let the money sleep?" Belmonte added.
According to Secretary Abad, the DAP releases, which were mostly for infrastructure projects, was designed to ramp up spending and help accelerate economic expansion.
As of October 1, a total of P137.3 billion in DAP funds has been released to senators and congressmen. This includes P82.5 billion in releases in 2011 and another P54.8 billion in 2012.
Four petitions have so far been filed before the Supreme Court (SC) questioning the constitutionality of the DAP. The most recent was filed by the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) led by its president, Leyte Representative Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, who is also a member of Congress.
Romualdez is a close ally of former President and Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The oral arguments on DAP is set October 22.
Belmonte meanwhile admitted that he was unaware that the additional funds released to members of Congress are part of the DAP.
"I know all about savings. That has always been a rule. But I’ve only heard of 'DAP' recently," he told reporters.
Several congressmen earlier admitted receiving an additional P10 million in the form of DAP funds on top of their yearly P70-million priority development assistance fund (PDAF). (Sunnex)