Aquino to ask for supplemental budget for incomplete DAP-funded projects

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Thursday, July 24, 2014


PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III will ask Congress to approve a supplemental budget for unfinished projects, which were initially funded under the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), Malacanang said Thursday.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said that seeking supplemental budget would be the Palace's way of expressing respect on the decision of the Supreme Court, which declared parts of DAP as unconstitutional.

"'Yung hindi pa nagagamit na pondo dahil nakalaan ito sa capital expenses, kung mabubuo na 'yung pasya at dahil naanunsyo na rin ng Pangulo ito, isasama na lamang ito sa hihilingin na supplemental budget dahil hindi pa nakukumpleto 'yung pagpapatupad 'non," he said in a regular press briefing.

"At bilang paggalang doon sa pasya ng Korte Suprema, ‘yan na nga ang aksyon na sinabi ng Pangulo na isasagawa—na lahat ng mga hindi pa nakukumpletong mga proyekto, o ‘yung hindi pa na-o-obligate na mga appropriation, ihihingi na lang muna ng supplemental budget bago ipagpatuloy," Coloma explained.

At the same time, the Palace expressed belief that Budget Secretary Florencio Abad was able to do his best to explain DAP during a seven-hour Senate inquiry.

"Sa obserbasyon ko naman sinikap niyang matugunan sa isang ganap at komprehensibong paraan," Coloma said on how Abad explained DAP during the hearing.

"Lahat ng hinihiling na dokumento, mga dagdag na patunay ay boluntaryong inialay doon sa komite, at ‘yung mga hindi dala sa Senado ngayon sinabi ibibigay din ‘yung impormasyon. Siguro ay wala namang kaduda-duda na hayag na hayag, bukas na bukas, at very transparent ang pamahalaan sa pagpapaliwanag at sa pagtugon sa lahat ng maaaring maitanong tungkol sa Disbursement Acceleration Program," he said.

Coloma also defended the presence of other Cabinet officials during the Senate inquiry even if they were not among those invited.

He said the President did not instruct the Cabinet officials to be present in the hearing.

Other Cabinet officials, such as Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson, Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and Health Secretary Enrique Ona, attended the inquiry to support the invited Cabinet members, he said.

"Kaya sa halip na kapag may nagtanong ay sabihin ‘tatanungin natin sa ganitong departamento’—nakita naman natin kanina, in addition to Secretary Abad, (Finance) Secretary (Cesar) Purisima, and (Socioeconomic Planning) Secretary (Arsenio) Balisacan—nandoon na rin ‘yung ibang Cabinet members, and at the appropriate time they were able to give timely replies...‘yon lang naman ‘yon. Para magkaroon nga ng kagyat na katugunan sa mga maaaring itatanong," said Coloma, who also went to the Senate.

Meanwhile, Coloma said President Aquino should not be cited for contempt for discussing the DAP on his speeches while the issue is still pending before the Supreme Court.

Coloma said that Aquino has no intention of disrespecting the high court by explaining to the public his administration's stance on DAP after the SC declared some of its parts as unconstitutional.

"Ang pagtalakay ng Pangulo hinggil sa DAP ay ayon sa kanyang tungkulin na ipaliwanag sa kanyang mga boss—ang mga mamamayan—ang konteksto at batayan ng nasabing programa. Wala siyang layunin na hindi igalang at respetuhin ang Kataas-taasang Hukuman," he said.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) was reportedly studying the possibility of filing a motion before the SC to cite Aquino for contempt for raising several points against the high court regarding DAP.

Malacanang, through the Office of the Solicitor General, has filed a motion for reconsideration before the SC on its ruling against DAP.

There were at least three speeches of the President where he continued to justify DAP, while criticizing the SC on its decision.

Coloma said that the Palace will continue to explain DAP to the people despite the pending motion before the SC on the matter.

"Tingnan na lang natin 'yung kongkretong reyalidad. Habang nandito tayo, patuloy 'yung pagdinig sa Senado. Ang Senado ay binubuo ng mga halal na kinatawan ng bayan. Sila mismo ang tumawag para sa isang pagdinig, dahil sa kanilang pagtingin, kinakailangang maipaliwanag ang programang ito sa ating mga kababayan," he said.

"Kaya 'di ba't nakikita natin na kinakailangan talaga itong mas malawakan at mas malalimang pag-unawa na nagaganap dahil binigyan ng pagkakataon ang pamahalaan na maipaliwanag ang mga aksyon nito. Kaya tumatalima lang tayo doon sa prinsipyo na ang mga halal na kinatawan ng bayan, ang mga halal na opisyal katulad na rin ng Pangulo, may pananagutan sa mga bosses nila na si Juan at Juana de la Cruz at ang nagaganap sa kasalukuyan ay bahagi ‘nung proseso ng pagpapaliwanag," he added.

The Senate has started its inquiry on DAP. (SDR/Sunnex)

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