THE Supreme Court justices appointed by President Benigno Aquino 3rd are pushing hard for the deferment of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) despite an earlier recommendation for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against DAP.
According to an unimpeachable source of The Manila Times, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Associate Justice Marvic Mario Victor Leonen found a loophole in the technical aspect of DAP and moved for the deferment of the issuance of a TRO.
Leonen and Sereno argued that there are technical issues that must be discussed and clarified before a TRO can be issued.
Leonen and Sereno are appointees of Aquino.
The Supreme Court en banc ordered a hearing on November 7 for a clarificatory hearing from the government officials familiar with the mechanics of DAP.
After the hearing, the justices will vote on whether to issue a TRO.
The source said a recommendation was made before the court en banc and was circulated to the justices for the issuance of a TRO.
The source said more justices favor a TRO.
“The Court deferred the issuance of a TRO against the DAP and National Budget Circular No. 541 dated July 18, 2012 as prayed for by petitioner (Augusto) Syjuco and petitioners (Carol) Araullo, et al,” a press statement from the Court said.
Sereno was the first associate justice appointed by Aquino after he became President on June 30, 2010. Sereno was later named chief justice.
Leonen, a former chairman of the Peace Process Panel with the MILF, was the latest appointee of Aquino to the Supreme Court.
DAP became an issue after Aquino realigned funds of the government which were released at the height of the impeachment trial of chief justice Renato Corona.
The Court froze DAP releases, but it retained Aquino’s power to realign the budget within the executive department.
Petitioners want to strip Malacañang of the power to make DAP releases after allegations that under DAP, government savings were realigned and given to lawmakers who ousted Corona.
Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio recently prevailed over Sereno to issue a restraining order on the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or the legislative pork barrel.
Carpio led the justices who voted for the TRO despite the opposition of Sereno.
Former Iloilo congressman Augusto Syjuco Jr. and several petitioners urged the Court to stop the government from using DAP funds to assist areas hit by the Oct. 16 earthquake, saying it is unconstitutional.
Other petitions against DAP were filed by Philippine Constitution Association, former Manila councilor Greco Belgica and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
The IBP argued that DAP has not been provided for in the General Appropriations Acts of 2011, 2012, and 2013, “much less mentioned.”
The Palace has admitted it has been releasing DAP funds since it was created in October 2011.
It said it disbursed DAP funds to 19 senators, 18 of whom convicted Corona.