• Bishops: Hold Aquino, Abad liable for DAP

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    A number of the country’s high-ranking Roman Catholic bishops on Wednesday said President Benigno Aquino 3rd and Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad should be held liable for the implementation of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) which the Supreme Court (SC) declared unconstitutional on Tuesday.

    Marbel (Cotabato) Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez and Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes said all government officials who were involved in the implementation of the program should also be made to account for it.

    “Yes, all [those]involved [in the DAP implementation]should answer,” Gutierrez said in an interview.

    “Aquino and Abad [should be held liable],” Bastes said.

    The SC on Tuesday declared specific acts under the DAP as unconstitutional.

    Ruled as violations of the Constitution were the withdrawal of unobligated allotments from implementing agencies and declaration of the withdrawn unobligated allotments and unreleased appropriations as savings prior to the end of the fiscal year and without complying with the statutory definition of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 General Appropriations Act (GAA); cross-border transfers of savings of the executive to augment appropriations of other offices outside the executive; and funding of activities, programs and projects that were not covered by any allocation in the GAA.

    Quezon City Bishop Honesto Ongtioco agreed with the call of Gutierrez and Bastes and hailed the decision of the High Court, saying the justices had deliberated on the DAP well.

    “I believe in the decision of the SC. I’m sure it was well thought out [and]deliberated on well. Those who prompted and used these funds [under DAP should be held accountable],” Ongtioco said.

    Lingayen-Dagupan Bishop Socrates Villegas, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, also praised the SC magistrates for declaring DAP unconstitutional.

    He said the justices’ decision was a “challenge” to the people to be more vigilant against corruption in the government.

    “We must be a nation of laws and citizens of integrity,” Villegas added.
    The bishops’ demand for accountability was echoed more strongly by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

    When asked on the role of Abad in the DAP, Santiago said the Budget secretary should resign if only to spare the President from further embarrassment.

    Abad, she told a news briefing also on Wednesday, could be liable criminally and administratively and must be charged with bribery and technical malversation for releasing P50 million each to senators for voting to impeach former Chief Justice Renato Corona was sourced from DAP.

    Santiago said she and Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. did not receive anything.

    While the President could be impeached for approving the creation of DAP, she added, Santiago noted that such move might suffer a major setback because majority of members of the House of the Representatives are allies of Malacañang.

    But removing the President, the senator said, could be realized if “Mr. E,” apparently Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, used his money to bribe Congress into taking out Aquino.

    Enrile and senators Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. have been charged with plunder in connection with the pork barrel scam.

    DAP course
    In Malacañang, Aquino’s spokesperson Edwin Lacierda also on Wednesday gave Palace reporters a “crash course” on the Constitution, specifically on why DAP should not be deemed illegal.

    In a heated exchange with journalists on issues surrounding the acceleration program, Lacierda passionately defended the program, stressing that criminal acts are specific acts listed in the Criminal Code such as malversation and plunder, none of which is found in DAP.

    He cited the High Court’s ruling against the Truth Commission in 2010.
    “[The commission] was unconstitutional. Was it criminal? It was [implemented].

    We did it. We started. We already formed a commission. We were starting to discharge the functions. So, again, so the issue here is: Is it criminal when you can find a criminal act?” Lacierda asked.

    In the case of the Reproductive Health Law, he said, the Supreme Court also disagreed with some of its provisions. President Benigno Aquino 3rd had signed it into law but he was never charged for any criminal offense after the measure was declared unconstitutional.

    “When you speak of constitutionality . . . When you speak of unconstitutionality, it does not immediately equate to wrongdoing,” Lacierda added.

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    28 Comments

    1. I agree with Rose that it will be difficult to impeach the President. Here is my take on the this issue. I believe the whole system failed because we have Senators, Congressmen, Congresswomen, Justices, Secretaries, elected officials, etc. who lacks understanding of the laws and ethics!!! What concerns me most is we have people who are using individual or group of people such as the Roman Catholic bishops trying to voice out their opionion and interpreting the law!
      I would leave it to the Supreme Court and those who implemented and received the DAP funds. Everybody agrees that the purpose of the DAP fund is noble cause and that’s how it came to being. But if it was meant to bribe officials to get their support then it is wrong. One thing that’s not challenge here is the interpretation by the Supreme Court.
      Here is one paragraph in the legal basis for DAP under Section 25 (5), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution that needs clear interpretation. “No law shall be passed authorizing any transfer of appropriations; however, the President, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and the heads of Constitutional Commissions may, by law, be authorized to augment any item in the general appropriations law for their respective offices from savings in other items of their respective appropriations. Question? Has the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court at the time have agreed that the disbursed fund were “savings”? There are many more provisions that need to be questioned and it take years to answer? In honesty, as citizen of the country i would rather see the effort and time spent by highly paid government officials to alleviate the condition of our people.

    2. DAP maybe unconstitutional but the fact of the matter, unlike PDAF, its proceeds never went to the pockets of Pres. Aquino. That is the big difference between the two. How about grading Pres. Aquino compare to the past modern leaders of this country? So, CBCP wants to impeach the President? Well, who are you going to replace him with? Vice-President Binay? You forgot!!! He is also a part of the cabinet and thus, has benefited the DAP or maybe, Mrs. Napoles. She was surrounded with so many Catholic priests when she was doing PDAF. Nobody believed in the Catholic Church anymore. In fact, the Catholic Church has become inconsequential in all aspects of the Filipino society.

      • The CBCP wants to sit on the throne. They’ve been busy with politics; from pushing for agrarian reform CRAP to stopping mining etc. These days they call themselves the Catholic Bishops’ Communist Party.

    3. Kung tatanggapin natin ang palusot ng Malakanyang na ginamit nila ang DAP in good faith at napakinabangan ito ng mga tao, then kaylangan din nating tanggapin ang mga palusot ng mga ordinaryong tao na napipilitang magnakaw ng kung anu anu. Lahat ng nagnakaw na nasa kulungan na nagsabing ginawa nila un dahil sa kahirapan ay dapat paalisin sa kulungan. Fair enough?
      Ang labag sa batas ay labag sa batas. 170 Billion ang issue dito. Perang ginastos ng walang pahintulot at hindi covered ng batas. Kaya nga may GAA every year para sa systematikong paggastos ng pondo. Hindi pwdeng daanin sa good faith ang paggastos ng pinaghirapang pera ng taumbayan…

      • okay so malacanang said that the DAP is legal. now prove to us that taking from the DAP 1B pesos to compensate the senators who impeached Corona was done in good faith. go to hell lie-cierda.

    4. Kung tatanggapin natin ang palusot ng Malakanyang na ginamit nila ang DAP in good faith at napakinabangan ito ng mga tao, then kaylangan din nating tanggapin ang mga palusot ng mga ordinaryong tao na napipilitang magnakaw ng kung anu anu. Lahat ng nagnakaw na nasa kulungan na nagsabing ginawa nila un dahil sa kahirapan ay dapat paalisin sa kulungan. Fair enough?
      Ang labag sa batas ay labag sa batas. 170 Billion ang issue dito. Perang ginastos ng walang pahintulot at hindi covered ng batas. Kaya nga may GAA every year para sa systematikong paggastos ng pondo. Hindi pwdeng daanin sa good faith ang paggastos ng pinaghirapang pera ng taumbayan.

    5. Kapal talaga ng mukha ng mga pari na ito. Lagi na lang nakasahod sa mga issue at nagpapanggap na malilinis. You pretend to treat the children as blessing from God but why catholic schools do not accept students who cannot afford to pay tuition fees? Pag may nagugutom ba na bata at pumunta sa inyong simbahan ay pakakainin nyo? Bibigyan ba ninyo ng perang pambili ng gamot kung may lumapit sa inyo na maysakit? Mga ipokrito kayong lahat na Obispo. Nakakahiya kayo! Yon nga palang mga anak nyo sa labas na hindi ninyo kinikilala, nasan sila ngayon? Pwe!

    6. joebert.banderas on

      Huwag na kayong makialam nakikinabang din mga pari sa PCSO at kay Napolis. Akala ninyo malinis kayo? Ang sabi sa Bible a corrupt religion bears corrupt fruit.

    7. Some of these prelates where branded as Mitsubishops by the yellow hordes in the past. Now its their turn to throw the books at the palace occupant.

    8. Mr lacierda, stop protecting your bosses The highest magistrates of the land have spoken and declared that DAP is unconstitutional, hence, it will be an exercise in futility for you to explain to the people how DAP money were disbursed because, nobody will believe whatever you say.

    9. SALVACION CAHAYAG on

      At least the bishops have the guts to show their true color. That they are very
      vocal for the prosecution of these involved in the DAP & PDAP. But what about
      the rest of the other reliqious orders like the Jesus is Lord Movement, the
      the Protestants, etc. Aren”t all of them profess that they are for good government?
      Where are they now? What have they to say? The Supreme Court have declared
      that what abnoy and abad are unconstitutional. We know of a major religious
      order who advocate UNITY. Where are the leaders of this religious order now? Are they for good government or simply they are only good for puro chat chat. I challenge
      the leaders of this religious order to show your color and like the bishops, speak
      up and show your unity to the aggrievedFilipino people. Or you are also waiting
      for the highest bidder or a share of the loot.

    10. ThunderousCloud on

      To Mr. Lacierda, if an ordinary Filipino commits a violation on any part/article/section of the Constitution, will you hang him?

    11. Ampaw is not the best president since he has created the illegal DAP. He should be investigated and impeached

    12. well this will teach future president not to disrespect the supreme court.impeaching a chief justice aquino said was a violation of the constitution because renato corona was a midnight appointee by gloria arroyo.now , the table has turn the other way? gloria violated the constitution because of midnight appointment to corona .instead of treating a co equal branch of goverment,the executive conspiring with the legislative clipped the judiciary s power by ousting the chief justice.,, they made use of dap money to violate the constitution

    13. In much the same way that members of congress prostituted themselves into accepting bribes in order to impeach SC Chief Justice Corona, they will be doing the same if they also accept bribes in order to impeach President Benigno Simeon Aquino III. Without the need of being bribed to do so, they must impeach the President and his Budget Secretary for having violated the Constitution of the Philippines for having authorized and implemented with their approval the Disbursement Acceleration Program. The have the right and duty to do so under the constitution if they want to prove that they faithfully perform their solemn duty to defend the Constitution of the Philippines.

    14. Modie Segovia on

      Right Lacierda. Abogado ka pa naman maituturing. Ang justification mo palaging baluktot! Dapat kang ma disbar!

    15. In this critical time, it is the turn of our religious leaders to inform our People and enlighten them of the systematic on-going plunders committed by political leaders.

      The homily period during our sunday mass, give them the ready forum: use them, keep the homily brisk, enlightening, dynamic capable of moving the people to unite and act.

    16. Mr. Lacierda should respect the decision of the Supreme Court of the Philippines when the Justices 13 of 14 voted and have decided DAP unconstitutional. There is no more buts nor ifs because Supreme Court is the highest court of the land. When U.S. Supreme Court decided gays have equal rights with the transgender there was no question raised about its decision. Mr. Lacierda should know better if he is a lawyer rather than cuddle/protect an act that is unconstitutional. Bribery to get a wish and desire to remove the SC. CJ is against the Philippine Constitution. Uphold the Philippine Constitution and whoever violates it should be reprimanded/prosecuted to the full extent of the law.Get rid of the old custom and tradition of protecting violators because of relationships, religious beliefs, etc., etc. Punish corruptors and administrators of the law should not be bought and never allow themselves to be bribed by wicked officials/politicians of the Philippine Government. Reform for a progressive Philippines.

    17. Kung sa batas ng lipunan ay makaligtas o makaiwas ang mga nagsamantala sa kaban ng bayan–upang masunod ang maitim na mithiin– sa batas ng Panginoong Lumikha at ng kalikasan kaukolang parusa’t katarungan ay tiyak na ilalapat. Sa ngayon ay iwas pusoy ang mga taong may kinalaman sa DAP at kung paano ito mananeobra para sa kapakanan nila.

    18. Anima A. Agrava on

      We should be a Republic that upholds laws. President Aquno and Sec. Abad have done, as ordinary citizens had seen even before the Supreme Court made its very very laudable ruling, and unanimously too, is trample on ouor Constitution, the laws and even mere common sense and natural reason.
      The bishops are right. Aquino and Abad should be held liable.

    19. should investigate Abad and the Bishops,not the president,the best President Philippines ever have.six more years for President Aquino.

    20. We should put those so called Representatives to task to represent their constituents well. It is their duty to protect tax payers and their money. Failure to impeach the president for betraying our trust and for bribery is not only an affront to the Filipino people but a great disservice. Shame on you! Maghahalo ang balat sa tinalupan if you do not do anything! People better NOT vote for anyone who does not vote to impeach this president.

    21. SALVACION CAHAYAG on

      Now that the Supreme Court declared the DAP and also the PDAP as unconstitutional, let the ax of the law fall upon these criminals who stole
      the taxpayers money. From the President down and to these who benefited
      from the loot be made to answer and accountable for their crimes. This is will
      go down in history as the country’s worst corruption ever. It now becomes
      a challenge to the remaining government officials who were sworn to protect
      the constitution and the Filipino people to take the initiative to prosecute these
      officials involve in stealing the peoples money. This is a challenge to the Armed
      Forces of the Philippines, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the Philippine
      Constitution and to any law-abiding Filipino to take the proper move. For after
      all, the Supreme Court already declared the DAP and PDA as unconstitutional.

    22. While it maybe hard to impeach Aquino, he cannot escape criminal liability once his term is terminated. In the case of ABad, he must be criminally prosecuted as soon as possible along with all the politicians who partook of the DAP loot for the following reasons, to wit:

      1. Whether or not the declaration by the Supreme Court of the unconstitutionality of DAP seem to suggest prospective effect is immaterial. Such alleged prospective effect refers only to future creation of similar unconstitutional executive act;

      2. The issue resolve by the Supreme Court did not touch the criminal aspect owing to the illegality of it’s creation. Criminal liability was never an issue in the resolution of DAP, that is why the Supreme Court did not delve into this matter. Yet, the SC clearly recommends accountability in the last paragraph of the despositive part of the decision;

      3. Criminal liability attaches from the commission of the offense. Clearly the “mens rea” or roughly stated, deliberate evil intent of the perpetrators of the crime, can be undeniably proven by the fact that DAP was created AFTER the General Appropriations Act for the fiscal year was closed thereby depriving or precluding Congress from exercising their “power of the purse” or the power to allocate funds, resulting in the usurpation of the Executived Department of the power of Congress;

      4. Crimes committed are not established and defined in the DBM Memorandum Circular no. 541 named DAP but in the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines where elements or circumstances surrounding the commission of the crime are conclusively established such as Plunder, Graft and Corruption, Bribery, Technical Malversation, among others.

    23. Doing something that is against the Constitution (Mother Law of the Land) is already a wrongdoing!!!!