• An unlawful, untruthful, unaccountable President

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    DAP is not a project—it is an efficient way of spending the budget; it follows the law and adheres to the mandate granted to the Executive Branch.
    — President Benigno Aquino 3rd speaking on the Disbursement Acceleration Program, July 14, 2014

    That statement, translated by the Palace from the Filipino original, showcases the qualities in the article headline: the unlawful, untruthful and unaccountable leader President Benigno Aquino 3rd has shown himself to be.

    Let’s take apart that sentence. “DAP is not a project.” Whoever said it was? The very name—Disbursement Acceleration Program—makes it clear that DAP is a program, not a project. Arguing that it isn’t, misleads people into thinking that its critics were saying something they never said. Devious.

    But the bigger and patent untruth is in the second part: “ . . . it is an efficient way of spending the budget.” As the Supreme Court ruled, DAP subverted the budget. It took money from programs and projects in the General Appropriations Act of 2011, 2012, and 2013, then allocated the funds to expenditures not in the GAA.

    How in heaven’s name can a program that took tens of billions of pesos from budgeted items and spent it on unbudgeted ones, be “an efficient way of spending the budget”? DAP stole budgeted funds and spent it on things not in the budget, including additional pork barrel for those who impeached or convicted then-Chief Justice Renato Corona.

    The third part of the statement after the semicolon is unlawfulness and unaccountability on display. By presuming to judge the legality of one’s own action, the President eschews the paramount principle buttressing both the rule of law and the accountability of public officials: respect for and submission to outside authority.

    If man does not submit to the justice system, but insists on his own interpretation of legislation, then he becomes a law unto himself, recasting the statutes of society to his own ends. And public officials who refuse to accept the check and balance of duly constituted authority, discard the mechanisms for accountability and against abuse.

    Unlawful
    Those who have followed President Aquino’s tenure can hardly be surprised by his disdain for the law and the independence of co-equal branches of government and constitutional agencies.

    In his first few months, he meddled in court cases in disrespect of the judiciary. When the Supreme Court lifted a Department of Justice travel restriction on former president Gloria Arroyo and her husband, he got DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima to disobey the ruling. Aquino also campaigned openly for the ouster of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez and Chief Justice Renato Corona, using pork barrel to get them impeached.

    In Monday’s speech, Aquino repeated his October insistence that DAP is legal, this time arrogantly presuming to know better than 13 justices of the Supreme Court who ruled against DAP with no opposing votes. Even worse, the President openly espoused violating laws if one believes it would be good for the nation.

    The purported end of delivering benefits fast justifies the illegal means of taking funds from budgeted expenditures and using them for unbudgeted ones — that’s the main point of Aquino’s DAP argument, as well as his closing text message story. The highest official in the land tasked with enforcing the law openly advocates its violation if it suits his agenda and timetable for programs and projects.

    One can now see why Aquino had no qualms about using pork barrel to push pet bills and impeach troublesome officials. Or forging agreements with Muslim rebels and for increased US military deployment despite many constitutional potholes.

    One wonders who is worse: dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who willfully manipulated laws to get his way, or President Aquino, who simply disregarded them. One thing is certain: Aquino is unrepentant about DAP, and staunchly believes that it is right to skirt, bend and otherwise disobey statutes to achieve his objectives.

    Untruthful
    Besides his cavalier attitude toward the law, President Aquino also showed his penchant for mouthing untruths, misleading millions of Filipinos who trust him or his office.

    Take his repeated and patently false claim that only P100 billion of the P1.54 trillion national budget for 2010 was left in state coffers when he took office on June 30. Aquino repeated that falsehood on Monday despite one undeniable fact showing that his administration had hundreds of billions of pesos left to spend at mid-2010: it paid all salaries and bonuses for 1 million civil servants for the rest of the year.

    Another untruth in the speech was the remark about the Laguna Lake dredging project “where we were supposed to pay P18.7 billion just to play with mud.” In fact, the project–awarded to a leading Belgian engineering company after strict technical and legal processes–was canceled without any formal notice explaining why, and certainly no finding of irregularity.

    There were new falsehoods to defend DAP and attack the High Court. Aquino claimed wrongly that “the budget must be spent within the year of allocation.” In fact, funds can be carried over to the next fiscal year. Here’s another: “If you cannot use the funds allotted for this year, clearly, those are savings.” Wrong. Several laws, including GAAs for the past three years, clearly spelled out that savings are funds left after projects and programs are completed, or salary allotments for unfilled positions, not just any money unspent in a given year.

    Perhaps the biggest wrongful assertion is Aquino’s claim that the Supreme Court did not consider provisions of the Administrative Code of 1987 on utilizing savings. In fact, the DAP decision cited the Code in several instances, with several portions supporting its ruling. The decision also cited provisions in the Constitution and recent budget laws—all of which supersede the Administrative Code.

    Unaccountable
    Aquino’s open defiance of the High Court, even interposing his layman’s legal knowledge for the justices’ unanimous ruling, casts doubt on his willingness to submit to constitutional mechanisms for checks and balances and accountability. That concern became even more real with Aquino’s warning about a clash between two co-equal branches, presumably the Executive and the Judicial.

    In the DAP case, only one scenario could lead to such a clash: the President rejects the Supreme Court ruling. Even that scenario would be instantly resolved: the judgment would prevail, and the entire government, including the President, must follow it.

    If Aquino won’t, he would be refusing to perform his sworn duty as president to implement and enforce the laws of the land. He should then be removed.

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    16 Comments

    1. “Let’s not blow smoke into our a….”. Filipinos are intelligent enough to weigh things and decern issues. The president is doing fine…at least the World Bank President says. So his government must be doing something right. Am I missing something? Are the justices not politicized. Why would Corona tell Sereno to protect the SC. Is he still involved? I will not be surprise if he isn’t. Let’s find out the truth.. the truth will set us free.

      • The World Bank said DAP affected slightly the Philippine economy. Even if it had significantly improved it, that is no excuse for violating the constitution the President vowed to uphold. No amount of criticism of individual justices would make DAP constitutional. Only in the small minds of the president and his blind followers is the DAP lawful and perfect for the country.

    2. The Filipinos have the smallest brains in Asia or perhaps in the whole world. Just observe how they have not learned from their past mistakes. Over and over and over,
      they elect all these rouges to public office. And then they complain about bad government and bad government officials. They then conveniently forget that they
      themselves placed the crooks in their offices.

      What more can you say.

      • Moderator, shouldn’t above comment be disallowed due to the first sentence? (There were no curse words, it was not off topic. It was not in response to another commentor’s post. The only wrong in it is wrong spelling “rouge” instead of “rogue”. – Moderator)

    3. The way President PeNoy defies or question the supreme court decision a is wrong signal for Filipino children and us, the filipinos in general. The actuations and comments of the unrepentant aBAD is a show of arrogance and self righteousness of an unbecoming pubic servant!

    4. I agree that PNOY, who won’t follow any rule, nor know right from wrong, is not good for the country. I voted for him but now 4 years later, he should be removed before he does any further damage.

    5. What a calamity that the country has this kind of president – one who thinks that the Means Justify the End and worse – that the means he uses are Unlawful.

      He has no respect for the SC and THE RULE OF LAW. And now his allies are filing bills to cut off financial support for the SC!!-

      Aquino should be IMPEACHED.

    6. SALVACION CAHAYAG on

      If the Filipino people that include these branches of government that are entrusted
      to protect the people like the military, these in the religious organizations like
      the Catholic Church, the Iglesia Ni Cristo, etc are not doing anything, there shall
      no good change in this country. This country is not governed by a MAD MAN, who
      no longer respect the law. So, better abolish or repeal all the laws.

    7. victor m. hernandez on

      Ok, right, there’s is nothing more to say about this,. He is just becoming a laughingstock. Kaya, tama na, sumunod na lang sa guidance ng mga mahistrado ng Korte Suprema, meron ba sa trese ang maghuhudas? Kung walang alam sa Constitution ang pangulo, impeachable offense b ‘yan? Kung ayaw niyang sumunod sa Constitution, impeachable ba ‘yan? Kung hindi sumusunod sa Constitution na ipinaliwanag na ng Korte Suprema, hindi ba pasaway ‘yan? Kung sinusuway nya na ng tahasan ang Constitution kahit na ipinaliwanag na ng Korte Suprema na tama na ‘yan, hindi puede ang ganyang sistema ng paggasta ng pera dahil hindi appropriated ng Kongreso, di betrayal or pag-traydor ‘yan sa taong bayan na silang nag-ratify ng Constitution? Iyan talagang impeachable, di ba? Kung bakit nag-aalinlangan ang mga kinatawan ng bayan sa Congress na isampa at patungan ng impeachment ang Pangulo, di ba parang mga kakutsaba sila ng isang pangulong ayaw sumunod sa Consitution? Ang mga Pilipino ba ay pinamumunoan ng mga parang mafioso o tunay na ngang mafioso o mga gangster na walang paki-alam sa mga batas na nagbibigay ng gabay sa lahat upang ang bayan at ang ugnayan ng mga mamamayan ay matiwasay? Kung hindi susunod ang pangulo sa Constituion at batas, kung wala siya panibagong programa maliban sa DAP, upang isulong ang pag-unlad ng bayan, eh, ano pa ang silbi niya bilang pangulo? Ang pangulo ay nag-hahanap ng away sa katuwirang mali. Wag ng pasaway, mag-pakumbaba, at tanggapin ang mga paliwanag, at hatol ng Korte Suprema tungkol sa DAP.

    8. Alejo Rosete on

      The President is not even a lawyer – he questions the legality and/or constitutionality of the decisions of the Supreme Court? Where are his legal luminaries or legal team or his speech writer? Where are his Secretaries? Where is the Secretary of Justice” Where is the Executive Secretary” Where is Secretary Coloma? Where is Secretary Valte? Where is the Chief Justice? Where is Justice Leonin? Are they assisting him?

      Spoiled Brat -pure and simple ARROGANCE.

    9. DAVE L MONTERO on

      This President must know the biblical truth…. that God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble…. I can’t believe we have a President like Benigno S. Aquino III. … It is a disgraceful act and he must repent of his sins against God and the Filipino people….Thank you for your report and I believe this President’s action will be the beginning of his end… I can’t also believe we have cabinet secretaries whose conscience are not bothered by this kind of arrogance and abuse of power….I am sure these secretaries were all benefited…. Men fell because of greed for money…. principles compromised and virtues gone….

    10. DAVE L MONTERO on

      You hit the nail on its head. If the democratic principles will not be followed by the highest official of the Land who has the duty to abide by it and enforce the law, then all filipinos must wake up and remove this arrogant President from his position.

    11. Indeed, I hope that the INC would make known its stand on the impeachment of DAP King Simyon on their 100th Anniversary on 27 July which shall be beamed worldwide in real time. In the same manner, I hope our Muslim brothers would also ask for his impeachment on their day on 29 July. Then, the movement will snowball to culminate in his removal from office before the year is over.

    12. PNoy’s running of our government is the reality of late President Quezon’s preference: “I prefer a government run by Filipinos like hell…”). You have rightly defined him as “unlawful, untruthful, and unaccountable President”. To your very hair-raising portrayal of him, may I add: UNREPENTANT, PIG-HEADED INDIVIDUAL. I certainly have no wish to be disrespectful and judgmental, but that is what I sincerely think he is, basing myself on his performance as President, to this day.

    13. A Bad Boy Pnoy on

      Mga nasa gobyerno,basahin nyo ito: according sa mga taga Malacanang, ang perang hawak ninyo kapag ito’y savings, nakawin ninyo (pwede pala eh!) at kapag nahuli kayo, sabihin ninyo ipinagamot, o ipinangbili ng pagkain at ipinakain ninyo sa pamilya ninyo, o ipinang-aral ninyo sa mga anak o apo nyo, o ibinili ng damit – kung mahuli kayo, sabihin nyo ginawa nyo ang lahat ng ito in good faith. According sa “Malacanang Tenants,” approved ito! Yari ang taxes na ibinayad nating matitino!