Interesting view-A A +A
Thursday, October 10, 2013
WHAT a senior associate justice of the Supreme Court revealed the other day during the oral argument on the legality of the use of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) as provided for in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) is interesting.
The GAA is the law setting the operating budget of the Republic of the Philippines for a certain year.
The senior associate justice also said that the practice of some members of the House of Representatives and the Senate to allow part of government funds to be “realigned” is unconstitutional.
The Aquino administration has admitted realigning funds under the socalled Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
The SC justice said that not any Tom, Dick, and Harry can realign funds even if he is a House committee chair, or secretary of the Cabinet because the power cannot be delegated.
“When the Constitution says all appropriations shall emanate from the House (not even from the Senate) it has to be acting as a body, it cannot be one legislator or a committee. A legislator or House committee is not Congress,” the aasociate justice said.
Thus, the way the PDAF and DAP has been used was a mess from the start.
What is quite interesting to note is the use of the Malampaya proceeds. According to the senior associate justice, the government’s basis was a Presidential Decree (PD) that the late Ferdinand Marcos, as president of the republic in the past, enacted.,
Thus PD 910 allowed him to use the Malampaya fund for other purposes. It was a time when the Executive Department, because of the decree, also exercised legislative powers.
However, when the Philippines adopted the 1987 Constitution, and the Executive Department was considered then as having been restored to its normal status, Marcos was also deemed as having been stripped of his legislative powers.
Consequently, PD 910 has also been essentially reduced to being unconstitutional. And one no longer needs a Commission on Audit (COA) report to point that out, adding to the mess that made the whole PDAF utilization messier.
And so, we are now left with the Malampaya issue holding the classic empty hat that the wily Gloria Arroyo effectively made use of. But how do we really outlive the feeling that something like a trillion pesos went to the wrong pockets during the Macapagal-Arroyo regime?
Oh come now. We cannot go on living in a vainglorious past. We have to go on with our lives, and it is up to the “in-place” leaders of the country to lead us out of the mess the past ones have left us.
They may have left us a mess, but what are they having new leaders for, and a stable democratic government to saddle on and make merry for a new adventure in democratic living once more?
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 10, 2013.