Time for Abad to go

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Thursday, July 3, 2014


SO the Supreme Court has declared portions of Malacañang’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) as unconstitutional?

But then I am stumped. If only portions of the DAP were declared unconstitutional, what does that make of the other aspects of DAP, if there are any? Perhaps this is why some sectors simplified matters by saying the entire DAP is unconstitutional. It must mean that way anyway.

What amuses me are the critics of the administration of President Noynoy Aquino. They were like the homecourt audience of the San Antonio Spurs who shouted themselves hoarse every time Miami Heat players led by Lebron James bungled their shots. There is obviously an effort to use the SC ruling to advance a political agenda: oust PNoy.

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I could imagine Vice President Jejomar Binay and his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF)-linked cohorts in the political opposition smiling.

It’s when there is a push to impeach the sitting president that the description of the vice presidency as just a heartbeat away from the presidency becomes more understandable.

That’s why I am preaching, again, perspective.

What the SC ruled on was DAP’s legality. Beyond that, talks can be mere speculations or insinuations. On these, I can mention two: motive and spending. Critics are making it appear that ill-motive and graft are adjuncts of the SC ruling, making the push to impeach PNoy sound compelling.

Of course, no proof has been presented on that so far.

The declaration of the DAP as unconstitutional does not necessarily make the President impeachable, noted constitutionalist Fr. Joaquin Bernas.

It doesn’t seem to be a culpable violation of the constitution because culpable violation needs to be an intentional violation of the constitution. Negligence? That’s not a ground for impeachment,” he told GMA News.

I mean, ill-motive needs to be established first. Was the intention to set up the DAP sinister or was it for the common good? That needs to be established with certainty. I say DAP use was tainted because Malacañang erred in treating portions of it as congressional pork. But what about the other projects sourced from it?

Which brings us to the matter of DAP spending. I support the call of Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza for Malacañang to disclose the list of all the programs funded by the DAP so these can be assessed well. Were the projects funded by the DAP graft-ridden? Did those projects benefit the public? Is there a DAP scam like the multi-billion-peso PDAF scam?

But don’t take this as a brief for the DAP. It’s good that the Supreme Court shot it down like it did the PDAF. With such big amount of money in the hands of the Office of the President, the possibility of these ending up in private pockets is immense.

Still, the import of the SC decision on the DAP should be objectively assessed.

Meanwhile, I agree with the view of some political analysts that it could be time for PNoy to let Budget Secretary Florencio Abad go. I still would give him the benefit of the doubt on the PDAF scam. There is as yet no proof to support Janet Lim-Napoles’s claim against him. But the DAP is an error and there is reason to believe the scheme originated from Abad.

Things would have been different had the SC upheld DAP’s constitutionality. That would have been to his credit. But the SC ruled that the scheme was an error, meaning that whoever concocted it should own up the responsibility. More so because the declaration of the DAP as unconstitutional didn’t make the Aquino administration look good.

(khanwens@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 04, 2014.

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