Malacañang on Friday defended its move to again defer the presentation of its defense on the legality of the Aquino government’s controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
Speaking to reporters, Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said that the government needs more time to prepare the documents to be submitted by the Department of Budget and Management for the debate.
The Palace, through the Office of the Solicitor General, earlier asked the Supreme Court to move the second round of oral arguments from January 28 to March 25.
“This is to ensure that preparations for the oral arguments would be at that point where we are confident that we can amply defend the side of government,” Valte said in a press briefing.
She said that the government did not have enough time to prepare the documents as it was busy preparing for the 2014 national budget and efforts to provide immediate relief and rehabilitation to areas affected by calamities that hit the country last year.
“If you remember, Nagkaroon ng konting delay dahil meron tayong mga mas mga problemang na-prioritize noong end of the year [There was a delay because we had to face some problems that we had to prioritize at the end of the year],” Valte said
“So they needed a longer amount of time to be confident in their preparations,” she added.
Malacañang earlier said that the use of DAP is within the bounds of the law and the Constitution.
The DAP has become the center of controversy after Senator Jinggoy Estrada bared in a privilege speech the “incentives” of P50 million to each senator who voted to convict Justice secretary Renato Corona.
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad later admitted giving from P50 million to P100 million to each senator under the DAP but denied it has any connection with the ouster of Corona. AFP