• Budget chief ready for faceoff with Senators

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    ■ Students tie peach ribbons on street balustrades at the University belt as they join the clamor to hold officials behind the implementation of the Disbursement Acceleration Program accountable for the illegal use of the funds. PHOTO BY RUY MARTIN

    ■ Students tie peach ribbons on street balustrades at the University belt as they join the clamor to hold officials behind the implementation of the Disbursement Acceleration Program accountable for the illegal use of the funds. PHOTO BY RUY MARTIN

    FOR the first time since the Supreme Court (SC) struck out the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) for being unconstitutional, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad will publicly defend the controversial budget scheme when he attends the scheduled Senate hearing on the issue on Thursday.

    Abad and Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. confirmed that Malacañang was in the thick of preparing a detailed list of DAP-funded projects that will be submitted to senators.

    “Yes. I will be there. We are preparing the list,” Abad said in a text message to The Manila Times on Tuesday.

    The Budget chief was originally scheduled to attend a public forum on the DAP at the Rockwell Center in Makati City on July 24. But event organizers told The Times that Abad had requested a postponement, citing his appearance at the Senate hearing.

    Among the issues that he is expected to shed light on are allegations that the DAP was used to “bribe” senators into convicting impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona in 2012 and reports that majority of special allocation release orders (SAROs) under the DAP were given to lawmakers.

    Earlier, Abad said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) was already consolidating the list of projects funded through the program to distinguish legislator-backed projects from those housed under government departments and agencies, local government units and government-owned and –controlled corporations.

    “Most of the funds released through the DAP were in fact made to National Government departments. After all, we were looking at accelerating government disbursements, and we could do that by supporting fast-moving and high-impact projects, many of which are under national agencies. The list we will soon be releasing will show just that,” Abad said.

    The DBM last week released a “vague” list of 116 projects under the DAP that only raised a howl among critics of the administration.

    But Coloma said Abad will fully explain the DAP projects at the Senate.

    “We know that the DBM is working to complete a comprehensive report on the details of the projects funded under the DAP and this may be discussed during the Senate hearing,” he told a news briefing.

    Coloma said the Senate inquiry will provide a “venue” where “all questions may be clarified and answered.”

    The Palace official explained that the detailed list will be the Palace’s response to criticisms against the initial list released on Monday last week, after President Benigno Aquino 3rd made a televised defense of the DAP.

    “[The first] is a simple listing of all the projects that were listed in the 116 evidence packets included in the government’s pleadings in the Supreme Court,” Coloma said.

    “He [Abad] had already explained why there were so many SAROs involved in these projects,” he added.

    The list earlier released by the DBM did not include the projects of lawmakers.

    There were allegations that the DAP releases to some members of Congress were part of the reward Malacanang gave to lawmakers for supporting Corona’s impeachment.

    Of the senators who got the additional allocation, three received the biggest—Franklin Drilon, Francis Escudero and Juan Ponce Enrile

    Drilon got P100 million, Ecudero, P99 million and Enrile, P92 million.

    But in the DAP list released by the DBM last week, the amounts and projects of the senators were nowhere to be found.

    Drilon had said the P100 million additional fund that he got was used to build the IloIlo Convention Center. When asked why the project was not included in the DBM’s list, he explained that the funds were released to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

    There are 18 items in the DBM DAP list implemented by the DPWH but there is no mention of the Iloilo Convention Center.

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    9 Comments

    1. Nothing concrete will come up in that senate hearing for sure, simply because almost all the senators are beneficiaries of DAP except Poe and Binay, Even the new comer like JV and Angara are involved. aBad should resign, NOW na!!!

    2. I think the hearing will be bias. It was already said that all Senators were beneficiaries of the DAP except for the three (Marcos, Santiago and former Sen. Arroyo.

      • I always read, except the three – Marcos, Santiago and Arroyo. Therefore, Lacson was also involved and recipient of the Dap funds to oust and impeach Corona. Let him explain his role and where did he used the funds, nagmamalinis siya yon pala buwaya rin, ganun din si Pangilinan – hwag iboto kailan man ang mga taong ito.

    3. The only honorable thing to do for Sec. Abad is for him to resign. Giving the President wrong signals for a very important decision such as DAP, using the Funds of the government uselessly and selfishly, and with those billions of funds I doubt if there was no corruption, duplicity of funding ( Kung kailan dumami ang pera ng gobierno, dun pa hindi na tutugunan angsimpling pangngailangan ng taong pobre). Please maawa kana Sec.aBAD, magresign kana. Ano ba ang hindi mo maiwanan sa pwuesto mo bakit ang kapal mo. Kapit tuko! Nagdramadrama pa kayo ni Pnoy na kunwari nagresign at hindi naman tinanggap. Make it an irrevocable and immediate in effect. Be honorable Mr. aBAD please.

    4. Rolando Acosta on

      I have seen one initial partial list. Such list only includes the program or project title, description or rationale and overall cost. There is not much details from which can be drawn an informed knowledge or conclusion.

      They have to require the submission of program or project details such as program or project location, cost, target beneficiaries, milestones, timelines, expected final output, program or project status to date and implementing or executing agency or organization.

    5. For the very grave reason that several Senators with the exception of the three (Marcos, Santiago and Arroyo) received 50 million DAP pork as incentive to impeach a Chief Justice in favor (personal vendetta) of this President , orchestrated by Abad , because of Hacienda Luisita, the Senators involved including those Congressmen who also received illegal DAP and with three Senators in questions are now in jail, it is not in the best interest or welfare of all Filipinos for them to partake in any investigation of the Budget Secretary Abad . They no longer represent the interest and wefare of the people and therefore they will be bias and will not be effective in finding the truth behind the corruption. An independent inquiry by prosecutors (lawyers) without political affiliation or any close personal relation with all the senators and Congressmen must be created in order for the investigation to be honest and truthful.

      • They no longer represent the welfare and interest of the Filipino people – I read this line somewhere but this is true and correct vz the current congress. Both the higher and lower chamber of Congress should be all impeach not only Noy.

    6. A-BAD, BE CLEAN, ACCOUNTABLE AND TRANSPARENT. WHERE AND HOW WERE THE DAP FUNDS SPENT. WHOSE PRIVATE POCKETS GOT THE FUND.

      WHATEVER HAPPENED DAP IS STILL UNCONSTITUTIONAL, UNLAWFUL, ILLEGAL.