Malacañang is confident that President Benigno Aquino 3rd will survive the controversies arising from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court last week.
In a news conference, Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda on Wednesday said the Aquino administration managed to survive adverse rulings of the High Court in the past.
“I’m not a political analyst, but only time will tell. This same question was asked from us when EO [Executive Order] 1 was declared unconstitutional. So only time will tell, I guess,” Lacierda said when asked about the political impact of the DAP ruling.
He was referring to Aquino’s first executive order that was also struck out by the High Court early in his term of office. The order created a “Truth Commission” to probe alleged irregularities during former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s administration.
Lacierda admitted that there has been some “political heat” after the SC decision on the DAP came out. But he said Malacañang is focused on letting the people know the benefits from the program.
“That’s our role, that [is what]we need to explain to [the]people, to our countrymen, what was the purpose [of]the Disbursement Acceleration Program,” Lacierda noted.
The Palace official maintained that the executive branch did not misuse public funds under the DAP.
“If the Supreme Court said [the program]was used for ill purposes, they [SC justices] would have said so. But the Supreme Court said, no doubt, DAP was used to benefit the economy,” Lacierda said.
It was Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada who disclosed that several senators received some P50 million to P100 million in exchange for their vote to convict then-Chief Justice Renato Corona for tax evasion.
Lacierda said he believes that it is possible that senators who received the funds did not know that the monies that they received came from the DAP.
“It’s possible that they were not aware that [they were being given]disbursement acceleration fund[s], it’s possible. But the source of those funds [was]clearly . . . the Disbursement Acceleration Program,” he added.
Lacierda said the Palace will leave it to government agencies and individual lawmakers who funded projects from the DAP to account for their spending.