THE government may file its motion for reconsideration (MR) on the Supreme Court decision junking some portions of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) today as the deadline given by the high tribunal for the government to seek legal remedies lapsed.
According to Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., government lawyers have firmed up their position on the DAP ruling and are determined to beat the SC deadline.
“According to the Rules of Court, 15 days from date of receipt, which is reckoned as of July 4, so July 19. I think [the government lawyers will be trying to file the motion]by tomorrow [Friday],” Coloma said.
The MR, he explained, was outlined by President Benigno Aquino 3rd in his address last Monday, when he assailed the court ruling and defended the controversial disbursement program.
“The President maintained a respectful tone in his speech last Monday. He said what he believed was needed to convey the government’s rationale for seeking reconsideration,” the official said.
“It is inappropriate to fan further speculations on this at this time,” Coloma added.
Coloma said the motion “contains all the salient arguments being put forward by the executive branch in asking the magistrates to revisit the legal issues.”
Aquino repeatedly criticized the SC ruling after his national address. According to him, he found the decision “unacceptable” as it may “paralyze” the economy and the entire nation.
But far from sounding arrogant and defiant, Coloma said the President did not intend to insult the members of the SC but merely based his remarks on the judicial process the government would avail of.
He added that the decision to file the MR was the President’s and that nobody instigated him to do it.
Coloma said Aquino read the 92-page SC decision on the DAP and the six concurring and dissenting opinions issued by the magistrates.
“After reading, the implications were studied and it took almost two weeks until the President was able to assemble the entire compendium of facts and principles that are essential in framing the government’s position,” he noted.
“At the point that the President decided to speak, the decision to file a motion for reconsideration had been reached. So, the speech itself was also a way of conveying the rationale why government was going to seek recommendation. And so this is all done in the spirit of complying with judicial processes,” Coloma said.
The Palace official vehemently denied accusations of “arrogance” on the part of the President, stressing that his remarks were made in “compliance with judicial due process.”
But when the decision becomes final, Coloma said they will have no other choice but to obey and drop all efforts to defend the DAP.
“We are a government of laws, not of men. Of course, we will accept the decision in the same way we did on other decisions made by the SC in this administration,” he added.
Coloma cited previous SC rulings on the Priority Development Assistance Fund, Reproductive Health Law, the Truth Commission and on “midnight appointees.”
“Isn’t it clear on record? The President and this administration accepted these [previous]decisions and the government was able to move on…We may have differing opinions but when a decision is made final, the country moves on,” he said.