Legalizing DAP won’t bring crisis

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Thursday, July 31, 2014


THE proposed joint resolution of Congress defining the use of savings by the president is a neat move to cut the fetters of the Supreme Court decision striking down DAP.

Congress will just clarify the rules, its proponents say. It will be more like changing the rules laid down in the General Appropriations Act (GAA). The SC said DAP violates GAA and thus offends the Constitution. So, overhaul GAA.

No problem since Congress has shown it can be a lapdog of the administration. As a senior justice of the SC said, congressional power of the purse has been castrated but it has consented "suicidally" to the castration.

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If Congress agrees to surrender its appropriation power through the device called Disbursement Acceleration Program, it is its prerogative -- provided it meets constitutional standards.

Checks and balance is provided for but the Constitution doesn't say Congress cannot waive by sitting on or bartering its power. We see that too in LGUs. A Provincial Board has the right to review the governor's contracts but it may opt to be led by the nose.

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But the planned resolution must not violate the Constitution. Opposers can sue and the high court will then examine the provisions approved by Congress. It will be a DAP review all over again.

This talk of provoking constitutional crisis may just be idle academic chatter. As long as each branch of government follows the mechanism provided in the fundamental law and respects lawful decisions of other branches, all will be well.

Each branch may try to outfox the other but if rules are complied with, democracy works.

(paseares@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 01, 2014.

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