PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd is reportedly fuming at two Supreme Court (SC) justices whom he appointed because of their refusal to support the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
According to a well-placed source of The Manila Times, Aquino was particularly mad at Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Associate Justice Marvic Leonen because they voted against the DAP.
Malacañang’s motion for reconsideration of the SC ruling will be tackled by the High Court en banc today.
A source earlier told The Times that the draft ponencia of Associate Lucas Bersamin denying the government’s appeal was circulated among the magistrates last week. The justices are expected to discuss and vote on the draft decision today.
The source said Aquino found it hard to accept the tribunal’s declaration in July that the DAP is unconstitutional. He added that the President was disappointed with the Chief Justice because she did not defend the administration’s spending program.
The High Court justices were unanimous in their decision that the DAP was illegal.
The source said Aquino is also not happy with the performance of Leonen, former head of the government peace panel that negotiated with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
“Galit si PNoy kina Meilou at Marvic dahil walang pakinabang. Ni isa sa kanila wala man lang nag-defend sa DAP [The President is mad at Meilou and Marvic because they were of no use to him. Not one of them defended the DAP],” the source told The Manila Times.
Another source said Sereno and Leonen had “no influence” with Malacanang. Proof of this is the appointment of former Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza to the High Court despite strong opposition from the Chief Justice.
The source said justices are united in the opinion that the DAP must be “operative in application.”
In the Bersamin ponencia that will be discussed today, the doctrine of operative facts was even more amplified. This means that although the tribunal declared the DAP illegal, government officials who implemented the program are presumed to have carried out the program “in good faith” unless proven otherwise.
This means that bad faith must be established against Aquino and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad.
Abad was impleaded in the case because the government circular that gave birth to the DAP was issued by his department.
In July, 12 justices voted to strike down DAP. Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo de Castro did not take part in the voting because she was close to one of the parties involved in the case.
In its ruling, the SC said the DAP is unconstitutional because it allowed the withdrawal of unobligated allotments from the implementing agencies, the cross-border transfer of savings from the executive to other offices and the funding of projects, activities and programs that were not covered by the General Appropriations Act.