Abad throws PNoy under the bus

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With the Ombudsman poised to begin the preliminary investigation of Malacañang officials implicated in the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Butch Abad has made it crystal clear that he is not willing to go to jail for the questionable funding scheme – and if he ever does, he’s going to take PNoy with him.

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That is the subtext of Abad’s statement when he declared last week that it was PNoy who had the final say in the approval and release of the funds for DAP.

“We endorse to the President and the President has final approval…I sign the endorsements and the approval, (it) is approved by the President. Of course, all the projects are approved by the President,” Abad explained.

When told that the SC ruling declaring the DAP as unconstitutional might be used against him, Abad countered that his acts should be presumed to have been done in “good faith” and with “regularity” in the course of his official functions as budget secretary and – take note – as the “alter ego” of the President.

In Latin, alter ego literally means “second ‘I.’ ” It is like being another person’s clone. In politics, being an alter ego of a president means the heads of the various executive departments are extensions of the legal personality of the president, and the acts of the Cabinet secretaries in the course of their duties are deemed to be acts of the president.

This “alter ego principle” or the “doctrine of political agency” as it is known in Philippine law, was explained by the Supreme Court (SC) in the landmark case of Villena vs. Secretary of Interior, wherein the High Court said: “(T)he acts of the secretaries of [executive]departments, performed and promulgated in the regular course of business, are, unless disapproved of reprobated by the Chief Executive, presumptively the acts of the Chief Executive.”

Abad is obviously using this “alter ego principle” to wash his hands of any liability for what is undeniably a technical malversation of public funds. However, since the “regularity” of Abad’s actions under the so-called doctrine of political agency are – based on the SC ruling – merely “presumed” and not conclusive, it may still be rebutted or disavowed by PNoy.

To rule out the possibility that his boss may one day hang him out to dry, Abad immediately and categorically tagged PNoy to be the final approving authority of the illegal disbursements of public funds to agencies and projects outside the budget approved by Congress. In other words, if there was anyone guilty of technical malversation, it should be PNoy, not him. Genius din itong si Abad!

These remarks by Abad are, without a doubt, a veiled threat to PNoy to do everything in his power to get the BDM chief off the hook or else. Abad clearly has no qualms throwing PNoy under the bus if it means beating the raps against him.

It is no-brainer therefore why Malacañang immediately came to the defense of Abad and his deputy, DBM undersecretary Mario Relampagos, saying that their actions were in the public’s interest.

We don’t blame Abad for showing his true colors. He has every reason to be nervous especially after the Field Investigation Office (FIO) of the Office of the Ombudsman prematurely absolved PNoy for the misuse of the DAP funds on the ground that the charges against him do not amount to an impeachable offense.

But the Ombudsman’s decision to quickly clear PNoy on a technicality only bolstered the belief of many Filipinos that the anti-graft agency’s investigation into the DAP funds is merely “for show.” Others, meanwhile, see it as a Palace script to bury the issue in the Office of the Ombudsman until after the 2016 elections.

For Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales should not have exempted President Aquino from the ongoing preliminary investigation into the DAP. Constitutionalists we’ve talked to agree.

They say the constitutional provision on impeachment cannot be invoked to justify PNoy’s immunity from a preliminary investigation by the Ombudsman for a criminal offense because an impeachment and a preliminary investigation are legally distinct from one another.

Impeachment is a political process to remove a president from office for a specific offense or offenses while a preliminary investigation is a quasi-judicial process to determine if there is probable cause to charge the president for a crime.

Moreover, a preliminary investigation is not the “suit” contemplated in the doctrine of presidential immunity from suit, the legal experts said. The “immunity” applies only to actual cases filed in court and does not cover a preliminary investigation into a president’s possible criminal liability.

Morales’ decision, however, does not guarantee that PNoy won’t be haled into court after June 2016. PNoy would do well to start preparing his defense sooner rather than later, just in case Abad starts singing like a canary. Well, that or make sure Mar (or a sympathetic president) wins in next year’s elections – by hook or by crook.

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15 Comments

  1. ABad and other Hyatt 10 members of Pnoy cabinets should be hanged before Pnoy’s term expired,all of them are guilty of corruption.We should not let them leave the country,Filipinos has the right to arrest them if you see them anywhere after the new president has been proclaimed.

  2. By conchita’s statement, they have to make it appear to the gullible electorate that DUNG MATWEED is alive and kicking. Otherwise, Manuel will never even land 5th spot in a contest where here are three contenders. With the public told that the act does not constitute an impeachable offense, they are trying to hoodwink the people that their legal plunder and grand larceny benefitted the country and it should continue under the term of senior kho rheena even when every executive and CEO of every company knew that the eunuch will never be able to accomplish any project. Under a Manuel term, it will take NEDA three years to study a project, two years for another re-evaluation and another one year under the PMS – plus one year preparing the TOR for bidding.

  3. ABAD and company must be thinking that by dropping PNOY off the cliff will exempt them from the charges then something must be terribly wrong in ABAD’s mind, he dropped the coin and the president dances with the music, “kaya sama-sama kayo mag “boogie” sa kalaboso in the future…”

  4. The marginal note of GMA on a request letter to transfer fund from PCSO landed her in jail, then PNoy who apporved the DAP itself should put in jail for good and never to be heard again.

  5. SALVACION CAHAYAG on

    That’s the problem of voting an incompetent president like Aquino.
    He does know how to distinguish which is legal and illegal, which is constitutional and
    unconstitutional. Or, he does not know what is command responsibility. Kaya, after
    June 2016, this Aquino will exchange place with Gloria Arroyo.

  6. Abad is a seasoned political animal, he has been in the government too long to spot a weakling to befriend and create opportunities for him when the right time becomes ripe for the picking, and this he did with cunning precision.

    As to his actuations, when he showed his atitude of displaying the ‘akimbo’ in the yellow room in the presence of BS Cojuangco Aquino III, he is parlaying a less than subtle message that is he in control of the situation and he has all the goods against BS Cojuangco Aquino III – in his mindset he is the ‘untouchable’ one.

    Abad, is thinking, with all the goods he has stacked up against BS Cojuangco Aquino III, he has all the leverage to put down someone big, and someone who has to keep himself and his whole clan out of the spotlight of public scrutiny – a stake so high that someone would fear of losing everything.

  7. Lately P-Noy got mad at Sec. Abad for being very bad. P_Noy found out that some documents that have something to do with DAP release were signed by The President and the Under Secretary Relampagos but no signature from Sec. Abad himself. Released to favored projects of Abad and technically protected for liability. Magulang talaga.

  8. what this skinhead is saying is taken from a famous cartoon phrase: “huh me? i didn’t do it and even if i did i’m innocent”!

  9. This is a result of how lawyers are trained: they pick a side on an issue (pro or con), and then, debate to no end to defend their side as true and the opponent’s as false. As a result, the new breed of lawyers become skilled in twisting the truth and obfuscating an issue.

  10. First of all, Abad will always land in jail. First for possession of gangster face, he deserves to be jailed, Second, DAP is his brainchild which illegal scheme cannot possibly come from a brainless head of the president,

    • Bonifacio Claudio on

      UTOS NG HARI HINDI MABABALI… So the ministers/alter egos scramble to propose to the HARI measures which when approved by the HARI are rode upon by executives to satisfy the UTOS… That is my take on the stand of Abad. At first it was a word, and the word was made flesh, and the flesh dwelt amongs men… I stand to be corrected where I am amiss… But then, of course, I mean the UTOS…

    • Agree! Pero dapat kulong din ung presidente dahil sa kabobohan at kawalang utak eh apruba ng apruba at pirma lng ng pirma. On the other hand, baka nmn me utak at kulang lang sa piyesa para 100% gana ng utak nya. Ung lang NAUTO siya ni A-bad boy at nung ibang Hyatt 10..isa pa baka malinis tignan amo nya dahil si abad nga nagtatago ng lahat.

  11. Leodegardo Pruna on

    I am afraid of the “by hook or by crook” statement knowing that administration has not only the people but the capability to twist the hocus-PCOS machine into submitting to its desire since 2010. Our only hope for a clean and honest election is for God to bless the Philippines.

  12. Why is there a need for A-bad to “throw Aquino under the bus”? I thought Aquino is willing to be ran over by the the train with the agency’s boss should the train (LRT?)plan he boasted fails. This leaves A-bad alone!