The Office of the Ombudsman has asked Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno to provide investigators documents that may have something to do with the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said if freshly discovered documents will have an impact on the case filed against former President Benigno Aquino 3rd, then her office may reverse its ruling clearing the former president of accountability in the implementation of the program.
“The fact finding investigators said they sourced documents from the DBM. They got all the documents that they wanted. But in light of the statement of Mr. Diokno that they have unearthed documents that probably have a bearing on the DAP, the Field Investigation Office today sent a letter to Mr. Diokno to furnish us any document which it believes has a bearing on the DAP,” Morales told reporters on Tuesday.
“The preliminary investigation stage is still pending, remember there is a motion for reconsideration. If the FIO can in the interim present evidence that can either support or negate the evidence presented in the case, then we will certainly consider that because it is still in the MR (motion for reconsideration) stage where the complainants are to be heard,” Morales said.
The Office of the Ombudsman earlier cleared Aquino and former Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos from any accountability in the implementation of the P72-billion program from 2011 to 2013.
It found basis to charge former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad with usurpation of legislative powers.
The Ombudsman said Abad “encroached” on the powers of Congress by modifying the 2012 General Appropriations Act’s (GAA) provisions on savings.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate and other personalities have asked the Office of the Ombudsman to reconsider its ruling.
In their motion for reconsideration filed in March, the complainants said that the ruling, “in an attempt to shield Aquino mentioned only NBC 541 apparently as the only document/act which ‘unduly modified, expanded the meaning of savings under the GAA’ and that ‘through NBC 541, Abad effectively suspended provisions of the 2011 and 2012 GAAs[’].”
Various “DAP issuances, bearing the signature and approval of Aquino constitute the crime of Usurpation of Legislative Powers under Article 239 of the RPC,” they added.
They argued that the Ombudsman “committed grave errors of facts and laws” in not finding basis to charge Abad and Aquino with graft and technical malversation.
DAP, a stimulus package under the Aquino administration which aimed to fast-track public spending and push economic growth, was declared partly unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in July 2014. REINA TOLENTINO