President Benigno Aquino 3rd is not afraid of a plan of the incoming Duterte administration to reinvestigate the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), parts of which have been struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court (SC).
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. on Wednesday said Aquino and his officials are ready to defend their actions in court.
“As Chief Executive, President Aquino faithfully followed the Constitution and the laws of the land,” Coloma told reporters in a text message.
“If we may recall, the Supreme Court upheld the motion for reconsideration filed through the Office of the Solicitor General, particularly on the operative fact doctrine. In that decision, the SC categorically ruled and upheld the presumption of regularity in the implementation of the DAP,” he said.
Coloma was reacting to a statement of incoming Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd that his department will look into liabilities of officials of the outgoing Aquino administration for implementing DAP.
Aguirre said President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has ordered that no one will be spared in the DAP probe, including Aquino himself.
“We are going to investigate the DAP. If the evidence warrants, we will be filing cases.
Duterte told me that charges should be filed no matter who gets hurt. There should be no selective justice,” he pointed out.
The Supreme Court ruled in July 2014 that the Palace order that created the DAP was unconstitutional and that the author, proponents and implementors of the program should to prove good faith in a proper tribunal or face prosecution.
The court cited three specific executive acts as unconstitutional namely “the withdrawal of unobligated allotments from the implementing agencies, the declaration of the withdrawn unobligated allotments and unreleased appropriations as savings, prior to the end of the fiscal year and without complying with the statutory definition of savings contained in the GAA [General Appropriations Act]; the cross-border transfers of the savings of the executive to augment the appropriations of other offices outside the executive; and the funding of projects, activities and programs that were not covered by any appropriation in the GAA.”
The High Court later amended its ruling, saying only the DAP author should be held liable.
The DAP was created as an economic stimulus fund.
It came to light after Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada bared that part of the fund was given to senators who voted to convict then-Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad admitted that the additional funds came from the DAP, but maintained that the allocations were neither bribes nor incentives.
Abad released P144.38 billion in DAP funds from 2011 to 2013.