• Palace refuses to bare list of DAP projects

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    Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon (center) and members of Youth Act Now! hold copies of the plunder complaint they filed against Budget Secretary Florencio Abad at the Office of the Ombudsman.   Photo By Ruy Martinez

    Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon (center) and members of Youth Act Now! hold copies of the plunder complaint they filed against Budget Secretary Florencio Abad at the Office of the Ombudsman.
    Photo By Ruy Martinez

    MALACAÑANG continues to withhold information on where funds released through the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) went, stressing that this would be done only after Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and government lawyers have decided what legal action to take in light of an adverse Supreme Court (SC) ruling on the controversial stimulus program.

    On Tuesday, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said any information on DAP projects will be revealed “in the proper forum,” noting that the Palace’s top priority at the moment is to carefully study the High Court’s decision and come up with a firm legal remedy.

    “In the right time, there will be a proper forum to discuss these issues. Right now, we give priority to studying the decision. There is a need to be focused,” Coloma told reporters.

    According to him, Abad has been conferring with government lawyers on how to deal with the SC ruling that declared DAP unconstitutional.

    “[Secretary Abad] is involved in the study of the decision and legal options,” Coloma said.

    Abad, said to be the main architect of the stimulus program, will exhaust the 15 days allotted by law to respond to the DAP ruling, the Palace official added.

    “Secretary Abad is performing his duty as Budget chief and the government, the administration, is performing its duty to carefully study the whole decision of the [SC] to come up with a [response]. . . That’s the ongoing process. I hope you understand this concern in light of that process,” Coloma explained.

    Despite repeated demands for Malacanang to specify where the DAP funds were actually spent, officials continue to be evasive, often pointing to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) as the right agency to respond to the requests.

    On Monday, Malacañang spokesman Edwin Lacierda admitted that they are yet to get hold of a list of DAP-funded projects. According to him, the matter should be discussed with the DBM first.

    On the other hand, Coloma asked for more time before all information can be made public.

    “The Solicitor General received the [High Court] decision on July 4, 2014 and under the rules of the court, the government as respondent is given 15 days from the receipt of the decision within which to file a motion for reconsideration. So there’s a continuing study of the decision including the legal options that may be taken,” he said.

    Coloma added that he would not want to address issues that are not part of those stipulated in the SC decision.

    He noted that the High Court made no specific mention of any project or number of DAP-funded projects that were the subjects of its decision.

    Reports indicated that there were 116 projects that got funds from the program.

    Coloma, however, argued that they were not included in the evidence submitted.

    “If we will review the findings of the court, there is no specific mention of any of the 116 [projects]that are included in the evidence submitted. And I think there is some portion there where some of the justices expressed the opinion that it will, it is not appropriate to comment on the status of those projects whether constitutional or unconstitutional in one breadth,” he said.

    Coloma added that it is possible that the government will file a motion for reconsideration.

    “In the rules of court, [it]gives the respondent a certain period within which to avail itself of certain legal options including a possible motion for reconsideration,” he pointed out.

    Even the filing of a motion for reconsideration, however, is not yet final since it is also possible that the team of Abad and the government lawyers may have other legal options.

    But Coloma maintained that they are not withholding any information on the DAP projects, saying they are just “conducting a comprehensive review of the decision.”

    “It is our view that [the]discussion of the projects is part of the active case and we observe certain rules whenever there is still an active case,” he said.

    In fact, according to Coloma, there is no prohibition on government agencies that would want to explain their share of DAP funds.

    “Nobody prevents [them]because since last year, there were discussions, there were departments that made an explanation, remarks about their projects. There is no prevention or withholding of information since the very beginning,” he said.

    Coloma added that the public should not suspect that the government is trying to withhold information on the DAP.

    Senators’ projects
    While the Palace would rather keep mum on the DAP projects, some senators released documents to show where their DAP allocations went.

    Senate President Franklin Drilon also on Tuesday said his P100-million DAP funds were used to construct the Iloilo Convention Center that President Benigno Aquino 3rd inspected in June.

    He added that the construction of the Iloilo Convention Center is in line with the objective of the DAP “to boost growth” as the project will create more job opportunities, generate economic activities, promote tourism in the country and pump-prime the economy.

    The Senate leader said the project was funded upon his request to the DBM on November 14, 2012.

    On Monday, Sen. Francis Escudero said his own P100-million DAP funds were used in helping poor patients, hospitals and rehabilitation of public markets.
    Escudero added that no non-government organizations benefited from his share of DAP funds.

    Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th also named at least 10 projects funded by his DAP allocationsin nine areas in Luzon and Visayas such as construction and rehabilitation of multi-purpose buildings, fire stations, gymnasiums and film centers.

    WITH PNA

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    14 Comments

    1. The abad-aquino tandem is guilty of such criminal offence. They are liable for the violation of our constitution. They must face the wrath of the people who are suffering so much because of neglect and incompetence on the part of the president.

    2. Carlos Castaneda on

      How can they say that the DAP benefited the people when they could not even produce a List of said activity.

      Parang sinabi mo na ring ” Meron kaming natulungan na mga tao kaso wala kaming listahan ng mga pangalan at tirahan nila. Alam namin natulungan namin sila pero hindi namin alam kung sino sila.

      Gina-gago ng mga tarantado ang Bansang Pilipino…

    3. Carlos Castaneda on

      Eh ano na ngayon iyang slogan ninyong

      “Kung Walang Kurap, Walang Mahirap”

      Eh kayo mismo Mr Abad & Mr Aquino ang mga sulsul o promotor ng kurapsyon sa bansang Pilipinas !

    4. Eliseo Jr. P.Tenza on

      TRANSPARENCY
      Government Auditng Authority ,(COA) should demand a list of projects and the amounts spent from each Senators/ Congressman/ government officials who were allocated Pork Barrel and DAP Funds,
      scrutinize them and make a report to the people.

    5. The DAP and PDAF documents being kept by DBM under mr abad, are considered public documents, hence, it is but just and proper that he should release it as demanded from him by the people. If mr abad will keep on refusing to divulge to the public said documents, it will send a strong signal to the people that he is hiding the truth about this gargantuan anomalies.

    6. Every government person in whatever capacity always tries to evade being open about anything. They always fob everyone off with stupid excuses. Its the way its done in the philippines. Its always worked for them before so they think it will continue to work for them again now. They stalk about freedom of information & how they want that to be law, but they also want to be able to say what information they will give in this freedom of information. Its a joke as is everything done in the philippines. There is no honour in this senate whatsoever. They know how serious this is & how upset millions of people are in this country over it yet they still fob us off & then tell us they have the support of the people. No you dont its the people who want answers to these very serious questions & they have a right to these answers, an unequivocal right to them.

    7. In the event that the SC still stick on its decision after Malacanang submitted a consideration, is Abad going to tender his resignation? An irrevocable one? Hope so!

    8. The King of Pork and DAP PNoy administration is now very busy in Operations Evidence Distruction and suffering from sleepless nights covering-up their tracks. But the question will be where is the money if these cannot be accounted anymore? The persons in charge of public money will have to answer for it being the responsible person(s). Hopefull there is no escaping of these thieves.

    9. All we need to know is where the funds were used. If they can’t be accounted for by the receipients then there is reason to file charges. The creation and purpose of DAP and the legality can be discussed by DBM and panels who are investigating. Let’s not drag the country to many minor issues. The biggest issue now is China encroaching in our territory. In the meantime the Chinese leaders are watching us fight its other. Let’s all be professional and get all these issues sort out by legal experts and let the government function.

    10. I want to see the list of Public markets, names of poor patients and hospitals that benefited Sen. Escuderos DAP fund of P100m.

    11. in other words, they are buying precious time until they can fix this DAP issue and better yet find themselves a scapegoat or a sacrificial lamb. they will “cook” it until it’s good enough for the filipino people to “eat” it. and i don’t think the filipino people will partake of it. they know who the culprits are and the biggest one is the one sitiing in malacanang right now.

    12. eltee mulawin on

      >>> Drilon, Trillianes, Escudero shall not in generalized what they told about the money they requested to funded by DAP. Otherwise they should be specific on their data such as where is the project, when it was started and completed, How much the actual cost of the project, who execute or construct the project?

      >>> Drilon, Trillianes, Escudero and other legislator must knew or has a knowledged that the created DAP by Nguyngoy Aquino3 and Florencio Abad is illegal and unconstitutional which is culpable violation of Constitution 1987.

      >>>similarly or same in other cases, the Supreme Court ruled :
      a) …”that good faith does not excuse an official who juggles government funds or property from one public purpose to another”.
      b)….“It is the commission of an act as defined by the law, and not the character or effect thereof, that determines whether or not the provision has been violated. Hence, malice or criminal intent is completely irrelevant,”