• PENDING DECLARATION ON DAP LEGALITY

    SC allies lobby to spare Aquino

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     Philippine National Police spokesperson Senior Supt. Reuben Sindac points to the bed where the senators charged with plunder will sleep once they are arrested. PHOTO BY MIGUEL DE GUZMAN

    Philippine National Police spokesperson Senior Supt. Reuben Sindac points to the bed where the senators charged with plunder will sleep once they are arrested. PHOTO BY MIGUEL DE GUZMAN

    WILL the Supreme Court (SC) save President Benigno Aquino 3rd and Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad from criminal prosecution?

    If Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and the other allies of the President at the SC prevail over the other justices, then Aquino and Abad will not be slapped with criminal charges even if the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) is declared unconstitutional by the tribunal.

    The SC ruling is expected to be out on the first week of July.

    A highly placed source had told The Manila Times that majority of the justices had voted to declare the DAP unconstitutional.

    Since the justices are done debating on the constitutionality of the DAP, arguments are now centered on the possibility of punishing the president and the budget secretary for implementing a program that violated the Constitution.

    The source said Sereno and some justices are of the view that even if the DAP were to be declared unconstitutional, Aquino could be spared from criminal liability because of the doctrine of “presumption of innocence unless proven otherwise.”

    It was learned that Associate Justice Marvic Leonen has issued a separate opinion in favor of Malacanang. Leonen and Sereno are appointees of Aquino.

    The Times source said the magistrates will discuss the “doctrine of operative facts” and the declaration of the DAP as unconstitutional but shall be “prospective in application.”

    Sereno, the source added, is pushing for the doctrine of operative facts to be applied in the case of Aquino. Such doctrine states that while the acts of the president may be invalidated, for as long he exercised good faith, then all the effects of his act, including the release and transfer of funds, shall be considered valid.

    As a sitting president, Aquino is immune from suit. But once he steps down, he can be charged criminally.

    The Times source said Malacañang has sought the help of the president’s allies in the High Court to spare Aquino and Abad from criminal liability.

    This could explain why Aquino’s appointees in the court led by Sereno are lobbying that despite the declaration of the unconstitutionality of the DAP, it shall be “prospective in application.”

    This means that even if the tribunal had ruled that the DAP was illegal, Aquino and Abad would not be prosecuted in the future.

    “Parang magulang iyan sa nangupit na anak. Kahit na i-declare na unconstitutional ang DAP hindi papaluin ang Malacanang, basta huwag lang uulitin ang pangungupit dahil kapag inulit papaluin na sila [It’s just like a child who stole from his parents. Even if, for instance, the DAP has been declared as illegal, as long as Malacanang refrains from committing the same mistake, then (Aquino) won’t be punished. But if they commit the same illegal act, then they will be punished],” the source explained.

    The Times source pointed out that the justices shall decide whether or not to include in the dispositive portion of the ruling Aquino and Abad’s possible prosecution, similar to what they did in their decision on the priority development assistance fund or pork barrel issue.

    But even if the SC does not punish the president for creating and implementing the DAP, any one can file an impeachment complaint against Aquino once the High Court has ruled that the DAP is illegal, The Times source said.

    SC justices have until June 25 to submit the final draft of their separate opinions, which shall be deliberated upon during their final voting on July 1.

    The source said the draft ponencia of Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin has been circulated among the justices and some magistrates have also finished the draft of their concurring or dissenting opinions.

    Downfall?
    The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) earlier warned that the DAP controversy may lead to Aquino’s downfall.

    Vicente Joyas, IBP president, said if the SC declares the DAP unconstitutional, the president may be held liable for technical malversation, a solid ground for impeachment.

    “They may be prosecuted for technical malversation and COA [Commission on Audit] shall require the return of the funds [released through DAP],” Joyas told The Manila Times.

    The IBP filed the fifth petition against the DAP and asked the SC to order COA to conduct an immediate audit of the program and disallow all public money spent through it.

    The other petitions questioning the disbursement program were filed separately by former Iloilo congressmen Augusto Syjuco, Manuelito Luna, Jose Malvar Villegas and the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa). Militant groups also filed a similar case at the High Court.

    Also on Monday, Abad claimed there were sectors that were out to influence the outcome of the SC decision on the DAP with the aim of fanning anti-government sentiment among the people.

    Although an SC insider had told The Times that nine of the 13 justices voted to declare the DAP unconstitutional, the budget chief said they remained hopeful that the High Court’s decision would favor them.

    “There are elements who are trying to unduly influence the SC and
    condition the minds of our people. Let us not be carried away by them,” Abad said in a text message to The Manila Times.

    “It is dangerous and unproductive to speculate at this point,” he stressed.

    As of Monday, the budget chief claimed they “do not have any inkling as to how the justices will finally decide.”

    “But we are hoping and praying for the best,” he said.

    The Times source said at least nine out of the 13 justices manifested their intention to declare the DAP illegal.

    “A consensus was already made by the justice—DAP is unconstitutional. Two violations were committed by [the President]and Abad: First, there are no savings to begin with and second, if there are such savings, [the]cross-border of money savings is not allowed,” the source at the High Court said.

    Meanwhile, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. shied away from discussing the issue during his regular news briefing.

    “It’s better that we wait for the decision of the Supreme Court,” he told reporters.

    When asked to react to reports that opposition lawmakers are raising the specter of an impeachment case against President Aquino, Coloma dismissed them as “speculation.”

    “Let us not engage in speculation. This will not be of help at this time.

    Everything we say would be pure speculation and it should be best that we wait for the [SC] ruling,” he said.

    With A Report From Joel M. Sy Egco

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    36 Comments

    1. CJ Sereno,ur just returning the favor to Aquino coz without him you and Leonen will never become justices and eventually becoming CJ for Sereno…DAP was created in bad faith with the intentions of using it to bribe senators and congressmen to oust Corona so that the Cojuangco-Aquino clan can save the Hacienda Luisita and for other bills important to the malacanang occupant passed without delay and of course preventing legislators from passing the FOI which Aquino dreaded because the people will find out how unfit he is to lead the country due to his mental condition…So Sereno and Leonen,BEWARE!!!dont dare to go against the tide.

    2. DAP was supposed to be an economic stimulus, therefore, the executive department should be the one to use it. However, the senators (during the CJ impeachment) received DAP, why?

    3. Braincleaner on

      How can an illegal DAP used as bribe money to corrupt Senator Judges in an impeachment case be considered done “in good faith”. Only a direct beneficiary of a corrupted impeachment case like Sereno and Aquino III appointees in the Supreme Court could consider that as done “in good faith”. Not even a Law Dean or UP professor can be saved from corruption under the Aquino III Administration. All you need is appoint them to positions of power and the P1.3 trillion discretionary and lumpsum appropriations (pork barrel) of Benigno Aquino III will do the trick.

    4. Sa kanino po kaya dapat isisi ang nangyayari sa ating mahal na bayan ngayon? Hindi ba marami ang naniwala sa “tuwid na daan” ni Pnoy? O ngayon, ano na? Para tayong kumuha ng bato at ipinukpok s’ating sariling ulo! May panahon ng pagtutuos at iyan ay bayaan natin sa kalooban ng Diyos na hindi natutulog. Walang mintis, walang lihis, walang mali sa hukuman ni Yahweh!

    5. This game over already….. Kapit sa patalim na yan c pnoy at abad… Gagamitin lahat ng makakaya sa pera nila para d makulong …take or leave it you will be in jail soon crossing my fingers for the filipino people … Laban natin to

    6. You cannot blame PNoy’s fanatical parrots. That is why they are parrots because they just echo whatever garbage these two appointees of Pnoy in the Supreme Court say.

      However, the fact remains that the main reasons, i.e. “no savings in the first place” and “even if there is savings, cross-over appropriations or expenses is unconstitutional simply debunks the idiocy of justices who alleged “presumption of innocence” and “operative facts.”

      Remember that an underling of ABAd in the DBM already testified before the Senate Finance Committee chaired by Escudero weeks ago and asserted that all DAP fund releases were with the approval and signature of PNoy. There is no single DAP release without Pnoy’s imprimatur. Since there is no congressional appropriation and there is no savings, the acts of PNoy were clearly deliberate and unconstitutional. In short, PNoy and ABad are aware that what they were doing were illegal yet deliberately proceeded with their criminal acts. Therefore, those nonsensical rationale pronounced by Sereno and Leonen are pure fruits of their own folly.

    7. Jim Punzalan on

      I would even encourage more the President. HE Noynoy Aquino 3 to spend all the money of the Philippine treasury for purposes of DAP because I trust him, I believe in him that the funds will go to the best interest of the sovereign Filipino people.

    8. Joel r, makapagcomment lang talaga kahit walang sense? Pano naging moot yun? Alam mo ba ang ibig sabihin ng moot? Sino nagsabi sa yo na dati nang may dap, e sabi ng mga balita ngayon nga lang yun e?

    9. Sabi ni abad umaasa at nagdadasal siya nasa na ay maging mabuti ang desisyon ng sc,kung wala kang kasalanan hindi siya dapat mag worried at hindi magdasal! Mukhang meron yata! At feeling niya at noynoy nakakarma na sila,kahit magsinungaling sila dalawa nakikita sa kanila ang guilt!sa bi nga ang magnanakaw galit sa kapwa magnanakaw!!

    10. I would rather have it 100x that PNOY disburse all the government funds because I’m sure it will be spent on something beneficial to the people. The DAP funds were intended by PNOY as economic stimulus, therefore, he unsuspectingly released those funds to the greedy senators who in turn (I heard) corrupted the funds. So, the people at fault here are the greedy senators, not, PNOY. Regarding its unconstitutionality, it may be considered moot because the past presidents did it anyway. It is not specifically mentioned in the constitution that its release was illegal. Therefore, the constitution needs to be amended. Otherwise, all the past presidents are all guilty.

      • DAP did not exist in the past admins, only pdaf. economic stimulus was the official line of abad but that wasn’t the case. ‘di ba nadulas na ang dila ni jinggoy..the napoles saga could be a blessing in disguise, who knows..marami pang bulok ang nakatago..

      • There was NO DAP in the administrations of past presidents. DAP is an invention of President Benigno S. Aquino III and DBM Secretary Florencio ” Butch” Abad. No Need to Amend the Constitution whether on DAP or PDAF because the latter was been declared ” UNCONSTITUTIONAL” by the Supreme Court in November 2013.

      • The end does not justifies the means’. Illegal is illegal; although you wanted us to believe that BS Aquino and Abad used it in good intention but sorry and I pity you, tolerating a rapist is like raping a your own mother/sister, unless you are retard?

      • Edith Gerona on

        The DAP which you, Joel R said went to the people had no indication whatsoever that it indeed went that way. What is clear is that the DAP money was given to the corrupted senators as bribe money presumably to pay for the guilty conviction of CJ Corona . There were no paper trails that can be produced by either Abad or the corrupted senators leading to the lists of projects that benefited the Filipino people. No sir, no projects made, yet the money was gone . It’s a no brainer . The money was robbed.

      • Edith Gerona on

        The DAP which you, Joel R, said went to the people had no indication whatsoever that it indeed went that way. What is clear is that the DAP money was given to the corrupted senators as bribe money presumably to pay for the guilty conviction of CJ Corona . There were no paper trails that can be produced by either Abad or the corrupted senators leading to the lists of projects that benefited the Filipino people. No sir, no projects made, yet the money was gone . It’s a no brainer . The money was robbed. We’ve been robbed.

    11. Many times the SC rendered certain laws or actions of govt officials that even involved govt funds were declared unconstitutional but there were no criminal liabilities attached to it because of the “presumption of regularity” of acts. Just imagine if any act of govt officials that are of doubtful in character & later declared unconstitutional would subject them to criminal prosecution, who would dare work with govt??.. what is being punished is those acts that are inherently corrupt. Error in judgment, assuming there was, in conceptualizing this DAP, in my opinion, doesnt fall under this category.

      • Bernardo Carpio on

        The DAP was used to pay-off the senators & congressmen to impeach the Supreme Court Justice. There was no intention of using it for the purpose of “serving the people”. As what in the US would say it was all “pure bullocks”. Now the SC have to stand by the principles of Justice and Morality. Abnoy using it as a Michiavellian tool “the end justifies the means” is both Immoral & unlawful.

    12. Malinaw pa sa tirik na sinag ng araw at sa nakakasilaw na reflection sa bumbunan
      ng dalawang panot na ginamit sa panunuhol ang DAP, paanong naging in
      good faith eh ang intensyon palang masama. Walang paki-alam kung waldasin
      ng mga taong sinuhulan ang suhol sa kanila ang layunin lang ng nanuhol ay
      para sundin ang kagustuhan ng nag suhol. Kung ang ginamit na panuhol
      ay pera ng bayan lalo ng napakalaking pagkakasala sa taong bayan at
      sa DIYOS. Chief justice at justice huwag ninyong gawing justiis ang bayan
      at baka bigla na lang sumambulat sa galit at madamay pa kayo.

      • mikhail hieronymus on

        (“JuiceKo”..sabi ni Sen. Mariam Santiago.)

        All branches of our government are corrupt. Some members of the senate are corrupt, members of the supreme court are “tuta to the president, and the president and most of his cabinet are corrupt.

        president aquino and abad deserved to be impeach and sent to jail.

    13. Expect Sereno and Leonen will die saving Pnoy and Abad, may utang na loob sila kay Pnoy, so they should return that favor extended by Pnoy, anyway if Pnoy will be impeached that will be their Waterloo, their heads will roll.

    14. so the impeachment of corona did nt help president aquino at all.everything fell down the drain because malacanang thought that removing corona out of SC will make others afraid to go against the president.what a waste when the the result ended up the same way after pouring all the resources of the goverment to oust corona.this was really their intention to rule with iron hand and not the midnight appointment GMA made to corona.

    15. Ed C. Soliman on

      Unconstitutional is unconstitutional, no man is above the law..If they spare this two scalawags then the application of justice is obviously selective (as ever)….

    16. No wonder P-Noy allowed the railroading of the CARP extension bill & recently announced that he will certify a bill extending the notices of coverage by two years. In 1987, his mother also made an exchange deal with the Left to stop them from starting a civil war due to the Mendiola Massacre. Hypocritically, she saved her Luisita via the SDO.

      In the face ASEAN integration, P-Noy once again will sacrifice Philippine agriculture nd maybe for good by giving in to the Left despite the massive failure of the program so he can save himself from criminal prosecution and ask for political favors should such needs arise.

      Daan baluktut mo ang hahabol sa yo Mr. Hypocrite.

    17. “Mene, mene techel upharsin”…..The writing is on the wall. Once the DAP is ruled unconstitutional, thr hypocritical Tuwid na Daan kingdom will start to crumble. If indeed the DAP was surreptitiously devised and manipulated to bribe the legislators, then no one should be spared. This is the vilest form of corruption.

    18. this is the game plan why Corona was unseated ,,,,,that there will be a salvation from the hand of appointed Sereno and Leonen….

    19. SC Justice Sereno and Assoc Justice Leonen- both appointees of PNoy must be CRAZY as based on their statement as per above article that :

      “Sereno, the source added, is pushing for the doctrine of operative facts to be applied in the case of Aquino. Such doctrine states that while the acts of the president may be invalidated, for as long he exercised good faith, then all the effects of his act, including the release and transfer of funds, shall be considered valid”.

      Goodness Gracious – these 2 people should be sacked, removed, impeached from the SC- may someone file an impeachment case against them for even suggesting the above idea which is obviously done to protect PNoy and Abad because they are appointees of PNoy – their votes should not be counted -they are biased and their opinion is so far out from the truth – “palusot” ng “palusot”. PNoy and Abad has no more way out no matter how much they try. There is also the Court of Public Opinion and in the public’s opinion both PNoy and Abad have done illegal acts ; they were clearly in bad faith by using DAP -kung hindi pa sila nahuli at na-expose they will continue in their wrong doing and the Filipinos are suffering !! And for Sereno to say they committed the acts in “good faith” – Oh C’mon Sereno – “tell that to the Marines”, you are truly dreaming !

    20. Samuel Santos on

      The credibility, integrity and independence of the Supreme Court is certainly undergoing an acid test.

    21. Dapat sipain yan si Butch Abad at I-impeach yan si Aquino. Inu-oto lang nila ang mga Pinoy. What is bad is that – ang mga yellow mobs nassiyahan naman pag pa uto.,

    22. We don’t expect an honest and impartial SC decision regarding the constitutionality or unconstitutionality of DAP because the SC is presently swarming with PNoy appointees who are naturally beholden to him Panay tuta yan sila walang mga prinsipyo at mga inutil.

    23. This is a matter which the legal luminaries and the public is afraid may happen. Sereno and the rest of the King PNoy appointees will try to maneuver the result of the un-constitutionality of the DAP sparing King PNoy and Abad. This could be the reason that Sereno is delaying and foot-dragging the result of this wicked government act of the PNoy administration. Let us all pray that the Holy Spirit will guide the rest of the Justices not to be swayed by Sereno, Leonen and Reyes and the rest to justify the evil acts of PNoy and Abad.

    24. We’re talking here of ‘Daang Matuwid’; and, “no man is above the law”. Why are we talking of sparing ‘someone’? We’re talking here of redeeming the confidence of the Filipino people who have been lied to and taken advantaged of, by the powers that be, for a long, long time, by applying the law “equally”. Let us remember that there is such a thing as “Netizens”.

      • It’s because they can see the end of Noynoy’s term. And now they are trying to prevent possible repercussions on what he did and is doing while he is still president. Because, as president, he is exempt from criminal charges while he is still in office. But AFTER he steps down, it’s open season. And that is what they are trying to prevent.

        ” This means that even if the tribunal had ruled that the DAP was illegal, Aquino and Abad would not be prosecuted in the future.”

        Lourdes Sereno should be held accountable for this, just because she is an appointee of Noynoy, she should not always rule in favor of him. CJ Corona was impeached over something as trivial as SALN, why can’t Sereno be impeached for something more serious.