Malacañang neither confirmed nor denied a report that President Benigno Aquino 3rd did not issue any written authorization for the implementation of the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
In his column in The Manila Times on Wednesday, former Ambassador Rigoberto Tiglao said Aquino did not issue an executive order, memorandum, or even a marginal note authorizing Budget Secretary Florencio Abad to implement the disbursement scheme, despite the fact that funds for it totaled P158 billion.
“How could such an important executive action not be covered by any written order? Exasperated, I called several of my sources in government. I was told in various, but terse ways: “There is none,” Tiglao said in his column.
“What passes off as “documentation” for the DAP were the press releases by the DBM and a “Q&A on the Disbursement Acceleration Program”, which were posted at Malacañang’s website,” he added.
Asked to comment, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. admitted that any “executive action” must be accompanied by documentation as part of the requirements of the law. However, when asked for a copy of Aquino’s written order, Coloma said that it is better to ask the “concerned government agencies” if there are documents coming from the President ordering Abad to set up the DAP.
“I am unable to respond. Masyadong detalyado (It is too detailed). It is not easy for me to relate habang nandito ako at hindi ko nakikita. We can discuss that if further clarification is needed,” Coloma told The Times.
The Times tried to reach the Budget Secretary and other Palace officials but received no response.
Coloma however argued that the creation of DAP is allowed under the law.
”Everything that was done involving DAP is within the bounds of the Constitution and other existing laws that are applicable,” he said.
Abad earlier said that P137.3 billion has been released for DAP as of October 1, 2013. The amount includes P82.5 billion released in 2011 and P54.8 billion in 2012.
In a televised address to the nation, President Aquino challenged the public to discern whether it was wrong to realign government funds for infrastructure projects that sped up economic growth and have “real, tangible benefit to Filipinos.”
He said there had been no irregularities in the implementation of DAP projects, some of which were endorsed by lawmakers.
Malacañang has been preparing President Aquino’s tour to the provinces to explain the DAP to the people.
”We reiterate government’s willingness to conduct continuing dialogues with our people and especially in the regions and provinces to ensure adequate understanding of the issues that will enable them to make correct choices and decisions in matters affecting their communities and the country’s future,” Coloma said.
He refused to give details on how the dialogues will be conducted, saying only that they are part of the “continuing process” of the government “to reach out and inform our people of the issues that are confronting our nation.”