Cayetano, Drilon defend use of DAP-A A +A
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
"REQUESTING funds and stealing funds are extremely different."
These were the words of Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano as he explained that some forces are trying to divert the issue by pointing to them as the culprit and twisting some facts to confuse the Filipino people.
"Wala po kaming ninakaw sa kaban ng bayan. Proyekto ang DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Program), hindi pera na ibinibigay sa tao na pwedeng gastusin at ipambili," Cayetano said Tuesday.
Cayetano said it's about time to clear the air by means of explaining to the people the truth that DAP does not involve any money but merely projects that will be channeled for various government agencies and projects.
"When the people find out that we received funding, they immediately assume we stole the funds," Cayetano said.
"The issue is being muddled by those who would like to hide behind the mud that they are throwing against the DAP. The funds are used for legal projects and not stolen," he further said.
The senator from Pateros maintained that there is nothing anomalous if senators or congressman will be asking projects for their constituents specially if the project is worth helping.
He insisted that not all who requested funds or received funds are evil.
Cayetano's reaction came after reports came out that six senators received P100 million in the form of DAP.
He challenged those tagging them as corrupt to come out with sufficient evidence to pin them down.
"What we know is that we were all told that we can request funding worth P100 million--there was no assurance all requests would be approved. The funds were not given to us but to projects in various areas. One hundred percent, our project go to the people," the senator said.
Cayetano said there is nothing wrong with funds that were really used to fund good projects compared to those that has been used to fund anomalous non government organizations as well as their ghost projects.
Cayetano also challenged those accusing him to come out and show proof that they abused and misused the money of the people saying the Commission on Audit can also come out with their own investigation on the issue.
"I would rather that COA or the Office of the Ombudsman investigate on the use of these funds and that they release their finding on the issue." said Cayetano.
Cayetano also challenged his accusers to conduct an investigation through the blue ribbon committee in order find out where the money went.
Interviewed on ANC Tuesday, Senate President Franklin Drilon defended his own take of the DAP, saying the fund's release was "valid and legal."
"Ang issue po dito ay paano ginamit ang pondo. Imbestigahan niyo po kami at buklatin niyo ang mga libro ng pinagamitan sa DAP," he said.
Drilon said DAP completely different from the controversial priority development assistance fund or the congressional pork barrel system.
DAP he said is under the Constitution was made in accordance with the constitutional power of the President to realign funds in order to meet the government's spending target.
"DAP is based on the President's constitutional power to realign funds. The same power is also granted to the Chief Justice, and heads of all Constitutional and Fiscal Autonomy Group (CFAG)," said Drilon.
In same interview, the Senate chief clarified that CFAG includes the Judiciary, Civil Service Commission, Commission on Audit, Commission on Elections and the Office of the Ombudsman.
"This power to realign funds has been exercised by all past presidents, chief justices, Comelec chairmen, etc. The funds are not realigned to the legislature, but from one budget item to another in the same branch," Drilon pointed out.
"What is prohibited is transfer of funds from one branch of government to another," she added.
He cited, for instance, the decision of the Judiciary in 2012 to realign funds derived from the savings from a number of unorganized courts. The savings was utilized for the construction of Manila Hall of Justice.
Drilon said that DAP should not be treated and viewed as another form of PDAF as they are two entirely different matters, and DAP has been created to improve the pace of government spending.
"Unlike the PDAF which has been a regular item in the General Appropriations Act, DAP is a program to accelerate government spending which was needed then, especially during the fiscal year 2011, to meet our growth domestic product targets to expand the economy," added Drilon.
He said he is willing to let the people review DAP.
"Bukas po kami na buklatin niyo ang libro ng mga proyekto na ito. ang mga pondo po sa ilalim ng DAP ay hindi budgetary insertions. DAP is a program, not a fund," he added.
In late 2011, he recalled, economic growth was only at 3.6 percent, way below the projected 6-6.5 percent growth. This prompted the government to expedite spending through the implementation of the DAP. As a result of an improved spending, the country's GDP jumped to 6.8 percent in 2012.
Drilon reiterated that DAP allocation is not cold cash and but was merely a list of infrastructure projects recommended by legislators and local government officials to be implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways.
"We were only asked to list down a number of projects which were immediately implementable at that time in order to accelerate government spending and boost the economy," Drilon explained.
Drilon also said that in his case, he used his P100 million DAP funds to the construction of the Iloilo Convention Center. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)