President Benigno Aquino 3rd will address the nation today to defend the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) but it does not mean that he is panicking, Malacanang said on Sunday.
“There is no panic. The President is very calm and the members of the Cabinet and the administration continue to perform their duties,” Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said on Sunday.
He stressed that Aquino is not in a “panic mode” and that he will “calmly” defend the administration in his speech.
According to Coloma, the President will appear on national television to discuss the DAP.
In an interview over radio station dzRB, he said the President’s speech will dwell on the issues hounding the DAP in relation to a recent Supreme Court ruling which, Coloma noted, is only part of democratic processes.
“There are existing procedures on how we can achieve clarity on the ruling,” the Palace official said.
“The determination of the government to serve the people and for the President to fulfill his social contract with the Filipino people remains solid,” Coloma added.
According to him, the High Court’s decision declaring the DAP unconstitutional and the public outcry against the program can be explained so that the people could understand it.
“[The President] is unfazed,” he said.
Aquino decided to go public on the DAP issue over the weekend after he rejected Budget Secretary Florencio Abad’s resignation. Abad on Saturday said he submitted his resignation letter because he had to take responsibility for his role in the development and implementation of the disbursement program.
In denying the Budget chief’s quit bid, Aquino explained that he could not accept the notion that what they did was wrong.
According to Coloma, Malacañang has directed various agencies to come up with a comprehensive report on their DAP disbursements. Once completed, it will be made public.
“This is what we do at present: We ask from various departments and agencies their updated status report on how they spent these funds [from the DAP]. To know what were completely spent, completed and if there are still ongoing ones,” he said.
Coloma added that the government can still file a motion for reconsideration at the Supreme Court.
“That’s what we are waiting for. Once we have completed the report, we will submit to the public all these projects involved in the DAP issue,” he said.
“This will be done in the soonest possible time,” Coloma added.
He, however, clarified that there is no timetable for the agencies to finish their reports.
“It’s better to just wait . . . The President still abides by the principle that the people are his boss. Because we serve the people, the government has the right to explain its program. They should understand why these programs are being undertaken and [the government wishes to]clarify the issues to avoid confusion,” Coloma explained.
He said President Aquino believes that “a well-informed citizenry will be able to make well-informed decisions that will affect themselves and the future of the country.”
“We should give the people enough information so they can fully understand the reasons why the government does these things,” Coloma added.