• Lacson: DAP a throwback to Arroyo era

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    Are we back to the dark ages of the budget?

    Continuing with the legally-challenged Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) is just like reverting to the “dark days” of the budget under former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s term, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said in a privilege speech late last week.

    “The way I look at it, if we cannot scrap the DAP and fail to convince the Supreme Court to declare it as unconstitutional, it would be as if we were back in the PGMA administration.”

    The senator raised several questions on DAP, a mechanism formulated by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Development Budget Coordinating Committee (DBCC) on September 2011 and approved by Pres. Benigno Aquino 3rd a month after.

    Lacson asked how much of the P142.23 billion released from DAP was actually sourced from savings and additional revenue sources, and why nine percent of it or P12.8 billion was coursed through the senators.

    “If the programs and projects were actual budgetary items in the GAA [General Appropriations Act], why the need for the endorsement of legislators? Does it mean that they were not originally included in the GAA?” Lacson asked.

    “If that is so, then the release of the P12.8 billion fund to these programs and projects under DAP is illegal and unconstitutional.”

    According to Lacson, there is a total of P669 billion funds available for DAP under the 2012 budget appropriations. These include the overall savings, earmarked revenues, unreleased and continuing appropriations, unobligated allotment, and unprogrammed funds.

    He also pressed that if the DAP was approved by the DBCC — an inter-agency body composed of the Executive Secretary and the heads of the DBM, Department of Finance, National Economic and Development Authority, and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas— and the so-called Cabinet Clusters, then several others escape accountability.

    “Therefore, other members of the DBCC and the Cabinet Clusters escape accountability. They must also be named respondents,” Lacson said.

    In the six petitions against DAP filed before the Supreme Court, only three are named respondents, namely Aquino, DBM Secretary Florencio Abad, and Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr.

    Lacson also added that the National Budget Circulars (NBC) 541 and 543 are designed to “strengthen and facilitate” the funding requirements of DAP.

    NBC 541, dated July 18, 2012, allowed the DBM to withdraw agencies’ unobligated allotments as early as June 30, 2012.

    NBC 543, on the other hand, changed the two-year validity to one year of all obligations under maintenance and other operating expenditures and capital outlays.

    The two NBCs were issued a year after the DAP was formed.

    “Clearly, the two DBM [NBCs] were designed to strengthen and facilitate the funding requirements of DAP,” he said.

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    5 Comments

    1. If he will renounce his support to Abnoy and demand for his resignation, and then call for the abolition of the entire govt. then maybe he is for real. Sound too steep? But then if the people will just turn it over to a VP who is also corrupt, and continue with the same people that comprise Congress, it seems we have no other choice.

    2. If this is so, what kind of a President we elected? What kind of Senate President we have? They are far worse that President Arroyo. These people should be jailed and join President Arroyo.

    3. Analyzing Senator Lacson visibility in public gathering and very vocal of his opinion about DAP and Pork Barrel, he is no fan of Abnoy anymore but a critic. I wont be surprised if his name will be in the presidential candidate come 2016. I believed that he is a good person and his only intention is to make Philippines government of the people. And I also believed that most filipinos, rich and poor will back him up due to his record of being not hungry for money.

    4. Pinky Lacson is singing the tune of PNoy, the King of Pork. Lacson sounds like Boy Sisi, his kumpadre. Yeh, it is very easy to blame others. If what Pinky is saying is true, why did he not speak out during the Arroyo administration when he was one of those very critical of that administration. And why did PNoy, the original Boy Sisi not blame Aquino for the DAP when he is the most vocal buck-passer and finger-pointer in the history of Philippine presidents. Arroyo again?