Malacañang could heave a sigh of relief now that the Supreme Court (SC) en banc decided to defer final action on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) case until January 13, 2015.
The much-awaited announcement of the “death” of the government’s motion for reconsideration on DAP was put on hold during the en banc session on Tuesday, where the SC justices decided not to proceed with scheduled deliberations and voting.
It was learned that Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno went to Malacanang as guest speaker for the United Nations Convention against Corruption program.
During the event, President Benigno Aquino 3rd was very “accommodating” of Sereno and he even ordered Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad and Congress leaders who were present to comply with all SC rulings.
Also, Aquino pushed for heftier budgetary support for the judiciary.
“Bago natin makalimutan, Butch [Abad], I hope you took note of the budgetary requirements of the judiciary. They should be attended to,” he said.
“Since the approving authority is present also, perhaps we can talk to them for the speedy inclusion of what is necessary to help the judiciary in our common fight against corruption, making sure that we are compliant with all the directives from them,” Aquino added, referring to the presence of Sereno.
At the SC, Associate Justice Arturo Brion asked for postponement of the DAP deliberations to give them more time to study the program.
The SC will have its last en banc session on December 9, but no controversial cases might be tackled since four of the SC justices are scheduled to go on holiday leave.
These are Justices Arturo Brion, Lucas Bersamin, Jose Perez and Francis Jardeleza.
A draft resolution by Associate Lucas Bersamin that junked the motion for reconsideration of the Palace was already circulated last week.
A source said Aquino is also not happy with the performance of Sereno and Associate Justice Marvic Leonen at the SC, especially on the DAP issue.
In the Bersamin ponencia, the doctrine of operative facts was even more amplified and argued that “good faith” is presumed unless proven otherwise.
The authors of the DAP will not also be liable, but only its beneficiaries except if bad faith is proven against Aquino and Abad and that they benefited from the same.
The DAP was declared unconstitutional by the SC last July until Malacanang lodged its motion for reconsideration.