• Cabinet should not be punished for DAP – Palace

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    MALACAÑANG on Thursday said it will contest a decision by the Supreme Court (SC) that implied that officials who implemented the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) should be held criminally liable, saying Cabinet officials who did something that benefited the economy should not be held accountable for acts that were deemed “unconstitutional.”

    In a news briefing, its spokesman Edwin Lacierda said they “respectfully disagree” with the tribunal when it ruled that officials who disbursed public funds for projects done in good faith that eventually boosted the economy must be held criminally liable.

    “You may declare certain acts unconstitutional but to declare an operative fact doctrine extending it beyond saying that it is unconstitutional and saying that we now have criminal liability, that is not something that is part of an effect of an operative fact doctrine,” Lacierda, a lawyer, told reporters.

    He explained that the SC is yet to deal with criminal liability in any case involving a decision “on a particular provision in the GAA [General Appropriations Act] being declared unconstitutional.”

    “The Supreme Court never went beyond saying ‘Oh, the Budget secretary, the National Treasury is liable.’ Never because in the time of [former Budget Secretary]Ben Diokno, the GAA, some GAA provisions were declared unconstitutional,” Lacierda said, adding that Diokno was never held criminally liable.

    “Money was expended. But the Supreme Court never said ‘liable [is this guy], liable [is this other guy]’. Never did. And for that particular reason, this is the situation where the [SC] decision has put good men and women under fire and now accusing them of presumptively criminally liable,” he added.

    Such “dissonance” in the SC ruling, Lacierda pointed out, has put the names of officials who were never implicated in any wrongdoing in bad light such as Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson and Education Secretary Armin Luistro.

    When asked if the Palace legal team reviewing the decision would seek to expunge “criminal liability” of the Cabinet officials, including Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad, Lacierda replied in the affirmative.

    “As to what the legal team is going to do, that’s being studied. The entire case is being studied. And so what particular arguments will be raised, that will be up to the legal team to decide,” the Palace official said.

    According to him, the first “milestone” would be to arrive at a decision on whether to file a motion for reconsideration.

    “First of all, is there a need for a motion for [reconsideration]? That’s the first milestone that we have to arrive at to decide on and after that, what will be the arguments in the motion for [reconsideration]? This is a standard process that every lawyer would do when confronted with the decision adverse to that,” he said.

    The “import of the decision of the SC,” Lacierda also noted, is that it “affected good men and women doing reforms for the country.”

    He said the public should read and understand the spirit of the SC decision, which did not charge any member of the Cabinet of stealing funds.

    “Was there any allegation that Secretary Butch Abad stole the money? Because if they had, the Supreme Court would have said, ‘The effects of the DAP were wrong’,” the Palace official added.

    “There’s a difference on how we interpreted the use of savings, when can savings be declared,” Lacierda said.

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    7 Comments

    1. See this argument of Lacierda? Again it focuses on the usage of the DAP funds and exploits the doctrine of “operative fact” and good faith by the IMPLEMENTORS.

      But, Mr. Lacierda, why do you and your collegues, Coloma and Valte ALWAYS stick to the USAGE AND BENEFITS OF DAP, even to the point of using the comments of the Supreme Court about the undeniable benefits of DAP. What a double standard! If it is for your favor, you quote the SC sentences but if Malacanang does not like it, you question the very expertise in law of the the SUpreme Court. As if lawyers in Malacanang like you are better interpreters of the law and the Constitution.

      So, how come ALL of you in Malacanang refuse to comment on the ILLEGALITY OF THE SOURCE OF THE SAVINGS from the 2010 and 2011 GAAs. This is one of the acts that the Supreme Court found unconstitutional. In other words, the sources of funds of DAP IS ILLEGAL. No amount of justification of the uses of DAP can make the sources of DAP funds legal. And who designed DAP and idenfified the sources of savings in the 2010 and 2011 GAAs. It was the members of the Development Budget Coordinating Committee composed of NEDA Director, Abad, Purisima and Bangko Sentral Tetangco and DBM headed by Abad and approved by Aquino.

      The sources of DAP funds is ILLEGAL and everything that flows from it is illegal. It is like a robber steals from a bank and when caught says, I used the money for the operation of my wife who has cancer and for the burial of my father. In the end the robber, even with the good uses of the stolen money, will still be charged and brought to prison. Same with the authors and designers and implementors of DAP (please note the difference, implementors of projects in GOOD FAITH and under the operative fact are not included unless bad faith is proven),

      Mr. Lacierda, please do not twist or spin the issues. The people are asking Aquino, Abad and the members of the DBCC (who are the authors and designers) of DAP to defend why they should not be charged with a crime for violating the constitution re: impounded savings.

    2. SALVACION CAHAYAG on

      This C. Malifier who wrote a comment in this column about Sec.49 of E.O. No. 292,
      the Administrative Code of 1987. How can Marcos issue an E.O. in 1987 when
      he was already deposed in February 1986. Unless he resurrected himself in 1987.
      In 1987 it was the mother of corrupt ngoyngoy who was president.

    3. Mali kayong lahat!
      It turns out that President Aquono’s savior is Marcos. The dictator made a law that Cory sustained and has not been repealed by any of the democratically (?) Congresses and therefore continues to be a law of the land. Loook for Raissa Ribles’ website and read her research findiongs about Sec. 49 of E.O. No. 292, the Administrative Code of 1987, which legally allows any president to act as the budget dictator of our republic!

      • If the same law was in placed when Marcos was already a dictator in pretext of marshal law, then it is good only in the event of marshal law. The Constitution is always superior during ordinary times. For sure the SC Justices knows these but if this is only and administrative code, the Constitution will always prevail. Right?

      • In response to C. Malifier.
        First of all, you are citing Administrative Code of 1987 (Section 49) as being of Marcos origin. Perhaps you are less than 40 years old and was not yet around when the Filipino people in People Power 1, drove out Marcos and family in February 1986. The 1987 code was promulgated by Cory Aquino, not Marcos.
        Second, Section 49 of said 1987 code provides for the 11 cases which the President may fund from savings ‘even if these are not items in the current GAA”. Nowhere do you find any “cross-border transfers” like funding Congress, COA and Comelec.
        Last point, you and Ms.Robles are biting into the press releases of Malacanang that DAP brought undeniably beneficial results to the economomy in 2012 and 2013. That 91% of the DAP funds were used properly, but we in Malacanang can not give you details of its uses.
        That the implementors of the uses of DAP are good men like DPWH Singson.
        These are arguments that deal on the USAGE of DAP. No argument has come out of Malacanang about the ILLEGALITY of the sources of funds of DAP, the illegal IMPOUNDED SAVINGS. In other words, the source of the DAP funds is illegal and therefore, it would follow that however good the DAP funds were used, these usage WILL NEVER make the source of DAP funds LEGAL, Even in ordinary life, a holdupper who uses the stolen money to buy food for his family or pay hospital bills, will still be made to answer for stealing. So also with DAP authors and implementors of DAP (not the implementors of DAP projects),

    4. SALVACION CAHAYAG on

      This administration is confusing the issues here. The issue here is the DAP and the
      PDAP that were both declared unconstitutional. Meaning, the authors, proponents
      and implementors are liable if acted in bad faith. The Supreme Court does not
      punish these cabinet members who were not the author, proponent or implementor.
      These authors like ngoyngoy & abad who created the DAP which was then used to
      bribe the lawmakers in the impeachment of corona are certainly liable. These
      DAP recipients and implementors like Grace Pulido Tan, Voltaire Gazmin Dinky
      Soliman are also liable. Certainly the good faith doctrine cannot be applied to them.
      Do not muddle the issue.

    5. There they go again, fooling the public with a game of words. Of course they want to spare the Cabinet because Florencio Abad is one. They mean concentrate on PNoy the King as if we do not know that King PNoy can take the heat anytime until his administration leaves on 2016.