In a short span of ten (10) days, President Benigno S. Aquino 3rd attacked the Supreme Court three times on its decision on the Despicable Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which it ruled as “unconstitutional”. The first time was on national radio and television on Monday last week, July 14, 2014, when he foolishly threatened the justices of the High Tribunal and urged them to change their minds.
A day after the live telecast of his brazen threat to the Supreme Court justices, President B. S. Aquino III once again severely criticized the High Tribunal’s decision on the DAP during the visit of the World Bank president in Malacañang. This was less than 24 hours from his first attack on a co-equal branch of government.
Finally last Wednesday, PNoy defended his DAP for the third time during the 150th birthday anniversary of the great Apolinario Mabini, the acknowledged “Brains of the Philippine Revolution.” The latest defense of DAP by President Aquino was in obvious violation of the sub judice rule (no public discussion on merits of pending cases) since Malacañang has already filed its Motion of Reconsideration.
However, the Supreme Court may not cite President Aquino for contempt since the justices are acutely aware of unstable state of mind of the puerile President. The High Tribunal is not expected to go down to the level of PNoy and dignify his childish deed that is typical of spoiled brats when they do not have their way or get what they want.
Shameless Senate hearing on DAP
The Senate hearing on DAP last Thursday, July 24, was attended in full force by the Cabinet members of the Aquino administration. (The front-page headline of the Philippine Daily Inquirer was “Cabinet Goes All Out for DAP.”) It was as if, like grade school students, their attendance would be checked by Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras. For good reason, it turned out to be scripted with the help of administration senators.
Without any scruples and/or shame, the beneficiaries of the DAP pork barrel in the Senate attended the first hearing that was covered live in broadcast media. The most active participants were those who received the biggest amounts of pork barrel after the conviction of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona: Senate President Franklin Drilon with P100 million and Senator Francis Escudero with P99 million.
Interesting enough, none of the senators asked the question on who are the members of Congress who benefited from the DAP funds. As the PDI reported yesterday, “The Cabinet officials were not asked who among the members of the Senate and the House of Representatives received funds from the DAP, a quiet admission by the Senate investigators that they too, benefited from the controversial stimulus program ”
I watched the live coverage of the Senate hearing yesterday until noon. I was appalled at the brazen temerity of the shameless Senator Franklin Drilon who acted as if he was lawyering for the Aquino administrations in defense of the despicable DAP.
Instead of acting as a senior senator, Senate President, Frank Drilon acted like an Aquino Cabinet member defending the DAP. Sobra na ang kapal ng mukha. (Too much of a thick face!) It was so degrading for a senator to do, much more for a Senate President, the third highest official of the land after the President and the Vice-President. His job was to ask DBM Secretary Florencio Abad the tough questions, but ended up as his lawyer.
Without any shame, Senator Drilon went on explaining the legal basis of the DAP while supposedly questioning DBM Secretary Abad. What a sorry sight to watch the Senate President degrade himself like a prostitute, instead of leading the Senate, the Upper House of Congress. Perhaps it is worth explaining the side of the President Aquino since Mr. Drilon reportedly received a total of P600 Million in DAP funds.
Claims of Secretary Abad on benefits of DAP
Budget & Management Secretary Abad claims that the P144 billion worth of DAP projects have been good for the country. However, it is hard to imagine how the P2.7 billion in DAP funds used to pay the obligation of the Bureau of Customs (BoC) to the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC) will benefit the Filipino people.
The same is true with the P750 million tax settlement of NAPOCOR to the Municipal government of Pagbilao in Quezon province. Just like with the dubious payment by the BoC from DAP funds, Senator Ralph Recto quizzed Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima: “How did it help our economy? How many jobs were created?”
Another dubious government project funded by DAP, stem cell research, which the Department of Health (DoH) has apparently kept secret from public scrutiny, got P70 Million. Had the DoH used the said amount instead to purchase the beds direly needed by government hospitals, then the needed 5,000-10,000 beds could have been bought by now and used by patients.
During the Senate hearing, Mr. Abad spoke of the “chilling effect” of the Supreme Court decision on the “Aquino’s administration momentum for reform.” This is the most ludicrous statement I have heard and read. “Reform?” This must really be A BAD Joke!
Benhur Luy, the principal whistle-blower in the P10.0 Billion PDAF pork barrel scam, had testified before in the Senate that P425 Million in DAP funds went to Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) controlled by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the PDAF. The DBM released the money in March and May of 2012 for the projects recommended by Senators Enrile, Estrada, Revilla. Marcos and Sotto.
What is interesting is that Mrs. Napoles used the same successful modus operandi in PDAF with the DAP: getting the “honorable” senators and congressmen to endorse the ghost projects proposed by her fake or bogus NGOs!
Too bad that the Senate Finance Committee chaired by Senator Francis “Chiz-Whiz” Escudero suffered from instant amnesia and FORGOT the testimony of Mr. Luy. So much hypocrisy from Senators Escudero and Drilon with Secretary Abad and PNoy!