MALACAñANG officials have harped on the supposed economic benefits of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) but the Palace could not immediately say where the funds from the program actually went.
A week after the Supreme Court declared the DAP unconstitutional, Malacañang officials grappled for an explanation when asked by reporters how the acceleration program benefited the country.
In a news briefing on Monday, Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda, however, said the government is confident it can justify the supposedly huge benefits derived from the DAP.
“We are very confident that we can showcase the positive effects of the Disbursement Acceleration Program, the many projects that have benefited the country [because of the program]. In fact, may I just remind and also impress upon [our]countrymen that the beneficial effects of the DAP were even recognized over and over and over again in the Supreme Court decision,” Lacierda told reporters.
“So it is something that we can stand by, the projects that have benefited the country, and this is all found in the Supreme Court decision itself,” he said.
When asked to provide a list of projects where DAP funds were used, the Palace official pointed to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) as the agency that could provide such a list.
“We will inquire from the DBM if those . . . if we have the list, the funding of those projects, and if we can outline and release it to the public. We do not have a copy of those projects,” Lacierda said.
He reiterated that while some acts in implementing the DAP were ruled to be unconstitutional, the entire acceleration program was beneficial.
“You must remember that under the operative fact, prior to the declaration of unconstitutionality, the acts done were valid and legal because there’s a presumption the acts were done in accordance with law,” Lacierda said.
He suggested that lawmakers who got funds from the DAP should make a full public disclosure on where the money went. He cited the case of Senate President Franklin Drilon who came out with a press release detailing the specific projects that were implemented from his share of DAP funds.
“It would be in the best interest of everyone to see how they spent their funds if they did receive DAP [funds],” Lacierda said.
He, however, admitted that he was not sure if President Benigno Aquino 3rd himself would explain the controversial program to the public.
“We will just wait for when the President will decide to speak on the DAP. We have no confirmation of when, so we will just leave it at that,” Lacierda said.
The DAP, he noted, aimed to stimulate the economy, thus funds from it were also given to Congress and other “cross-border” government agencies.
“In the case of Congress, there was a need to assist them in the establishment of their library. There were certain things that they needed to be done, and so, it felt that it would be in a sense, in a way, assisting also the other branches. Also, we’ve got legal basis for that. At the time when it [DAP] was implemented, there was legal basis,” Lacierda said.