• Petitioners lash at Malacañang ploy for DAP

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    Petitioners against the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) denounced the scheme Malacañang took for the dismissal of the case by stating DAP is no longer in use.

    In a joint statement, the petitioners argued that Malacañang has already been committed and it cannot escape responsibility and liability.

    Signatories of the statement include former National Treasurer Leonor Briones, former Rep. Augusto Syjuco of Iloilo and former Manila Councilor Greco Belgica.

    “The sudden announcement of DAP’s cancellation is an admission of the illegal act committed. Obviously done in bad faith as a legal strategy to escape justice because cases had been already filed in the Supreme Court,” the Briones-led petitioners pointed out.

    They argued that a similar strategy was used in the pork barrel system but the High Court still ruled “pork” unconstitutional.

    “This is the same strategy they used against the Pork Barrel System or PDAF case.  The President himself said that PDAF is no longer there. It did not work. Regardless of its cancellation, without judicial proclamation who will say they will not [trot out]DAP again or probably with a different name?” the statement said.

    The petitioners also questioned the motive of DAP, because if it is really useful for the public, it should not be stopped.

    They stated that the only purpose DAP served was as bribe money for senators to convict then Chief Justice Renato Corona during the Senate impeachment trial.

    “The Solicitor General claims that DAP is constitutional, there is nothing wrong with it, and it is effective and it has accomplished its purpose, then, why did they stop it?  The reason was because it has done its purpose. Which was to influence the senators to impeach former CJ Corona as admitted by the highest officers of the land,” the statement added.

    Scrapping points  to illegality
    The government has virtually admitted that its DAP is illegal by abandoning the legal fight for DAP before the Supreme Court on Wednesday, House leaders said.

    House Deputy Minority Leaders Neri Colmenares of Bayan Muna party-list and Antonio Tinio of Alliance of Concerned Teachers party-list made the pronouncement in light of the Aquino administration’s move of asking the Supreme Court to declare the petitions on DAP legality as moot and academic since disbursement thru DAP has been stopped a year ago because there is no need to accelerate government spending anymore.

    The Solicitor General made the argument during the oral arguments on the DAP—a mechanism in which the President realigns government savings and windfall state revenues to priority programs of the administration—before the High Court of Tuesday.

    “It is an admission that it is illegal. The government initially fought for it. Why abandon it only now? The Supreme Court cannot dismiss the petitions as moot and academic because we don’t even really know if DAP was really stopped. Even if the circular on DAP was withdrawn, it doesn’t mean that such program will stop. It can easily be renamed,” Colmenares said in a press conference.

    Colmenares cited that while the government has submitted 116 DAP-funded projects, nobody can be really sure that DAP disbursement was limited to the 116 projects.

    “The government could have said that DAP is necessary, that it is needed to spur economic growth, but it didn’t. This could be fatal for them and a boost to our petition that DAP is illegal,” Colmenares added.

    With report from  Llanesca T. Panti

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