SC junks plea seeking suspension of DAP proponents

THE Supreme Court (SC) has dismissed the petition filed by losing senatorial candidate Greco Belgica seeking to compel the Ombudsman to investigate and prosecute all the officials behind the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

In an en banc session Tuesday, the SC denied the petition for "lack of merit" and stressed that the acts sought to be compelled by the petitioners are not ministerial acts but are discretionary acts.

The Court stated that the petition for Mandamus, which Belgica filed on August 2015 will only be issued when a) there is a showing of a clear, legal right to the act demanded exists b) respondent has the duty to perform the act because it is mandated by law c) respondent unlawfully neglects the performance of such duty required by law d) the act to be performed is ministerial, not discretionary and e) there is no other plain speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.

"None of these elements exist and thus Mandamus does not lie and petitioners are not entitled to the relief sought," SC spokesperson Theodore Te stated.

The petitioners in the case led by Belgica wanted the Ombudsman to investigate and suspend the proponents of DAP.

Petitioners stressed that officials should fully abide by the SC rulings striking down acts under the DAP and not be "selective" in implementing the Court's decision.

In July 2014, the high tribunal declared certain acts under the DAP unconstitutional.

Those acts and practices under the DAP, National Budget Circular 541, and related issuances that were void include: allowing the transfer of savings outside the executive branch, the funding of government projects not covered by the General Appropriations Act and the renaming of unreleased allotments and appropriations supposedly for agencies to savings.

Also nullified was the use of "unprogrammed funds despite the absence of a certification by the National Treasurer that the revenue collections exceeded the revenue targets," the decision dated July 1, 2014 stated. (Sunnex)
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