A House leader is confident that the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) will be declared by the Supreme Court as constitutional and maintained that not all lump sum funds are equivalent to corruption.
Rep. Romero Quimbo of Marikina City on Tuesday maintained that DAP is within the powers of the executive and in accordance with the Constitution.
“I believe that when it comes to DAP, it’s constitutional. The Constitution allows the head of state and all heads of the branches of government to reallocate savings for items which have not been fully funded. All the DAP utilizations have been based on specific items on the budget,” Quimbo said.
“Not because it’s discretionary it is equivalent to corruption. That has never been the cause.”
Quimbo, member of the ruling Liberal Party, lamented that the DAP issue is just being used by detractors to criticize the government, not primarily because of the question of its legality.
“The irony is it’s just a way to criticize the government. Any time it is convenient for the critics of the president to say, you can’t do that, you need to pass through the Congress, and the Congress should where the budget originate. When the Congress does that, they’ll say, separation of powers should be implemented, it’s with the president. All just excuses of the critics of the president. They take positions when it is convenient to criticize the government.”
The lawmaker added that the good thing with the fund is that there is a mechanism that allows the government to spend money for its priority projects.
DAP is a stimulus fund formed by the Aquino administration in 2011 sourced from savings and unused appropriations used to fund priority infrastructure and social projects of the government. It was cited to be an accelerator in economic growth in the last quarter of the same year.
The disputed fund is currently being questioned before the SC with nine petitions filed by militant groups, Integrated Bar of the Philippines, former budget secretary Benjamin Diokno and former national treasurer Leonor Briones.
Critics argued that DAP is unconstitutional because it violates separation of powers, with the executive department transferring funds to a separate branch of the government. It came under fire after Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada exposed that senators who voted in favor of former Chief Justice Renato Corona’s impeachment receive P50 to P99 million.
The High Court is set to hear oral arguments on January 28. JHOANNA BALLARAN