Malacañang is unfazed by the impeachment complaint against President Benigno Aquino 3rd over fund releases from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
Lawyer Oliver Lozano on Thursday filed the complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman, saying the President had admitted appropriating the P72-billion DAP “without due appropriation from Congress” which has the sole power of the purse.
The President had challenged his critics to file an impeachment case if they believe the DAP fund releases that he authorized were illegal.
On Friday, Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte alluded to the President’s dare.
”As the President has said, then if anybody should wish to . . . If they believe in that strongly enough or that they believe in the correctness of the position then we will meet any challenges head on,” Valte said.
”We can ably defend the position on the creation as well as the use of the Executive of the DAP,” she added.
Valte said the Solicitor General has not received a copy of Lozano’s petition but “rest assured that the Solicitor General will be ready to defend the position of the Executive.”
In his complaint, Lozano said a portion of the DAP was used to bribe lawmakers who impeached chief justice Renato Corona last year.
And in his column in The Manila Times on Friday, Ambassador Rigoberto Tiglao said data from the Budget department confirmed that each senator-judge during the Corona trial received an extra P100-million in their pork barrel.
But Valte maintained that Malacañang did not bribe senators into convicting Corona.
”We’ve already sufficiently answered these allegations about the releases and to this day those explanations hold,” Valte replied when asked by The Times to explain why DAP funds were released during and right after the trial.
Senate President Franklin Drilon admitted getting P100 million worth of disbursements after Corona’s conviction, but insisted that it was not a bribe.
Valte said the DAP funds were for projects requested by the senators.
”The idea really is to be able to help pick up public spending; and second to help the agencies improve their absorptive capacities,” she said .
President Aquino has suspended the release of DAP funds to lawmakers following allegations that of pork barrel misuse.
The Budget department will release the list of projects funded by DAP, Valte said.
”They are working on it today [Friday]. Hopefully, they will be able to give you—to upload the list as soon as they can,” she added.