• SC decision documents senators acts and their incentives

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    Regardless of the Senate moro-moro last Thursday, the case to make Butch Abad and senators accountable for senatorial bribery is alive and kicking.

    Abad, Drilon, Trillanes, et al. have nothing to celebrate. They may be in a deeper hole than they imagine.

    When Budget Secretary Butch Abad emerged from his foxhole last week to testify at the Senate, accompanied by a retinue of Cabinet secretaries, he did not demolish the people’s case against the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and its authors and implementors.

    The sham hearing was a show at the expense of the nation.

    But theatrics aside, no one got off the hook. Some wound up hurting themselves in the court of public opinion. And the Senate got a black eye.

    President Aquino’s fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) yesterday did not resolve his DAP predicament. True to character, he was unapologetic and defiant.

    The arrival of the 100-millionth Filipino was indisputably more eventful.

    And the first centennial of the Iglesia ni Kristo provided more spectacle.

    So shameful English cannot find the words
    It struck me while watching the televised Senate hearing that what happened was historic. We were watching the briber and the bribed in the Corona impeachment meeting face-to-face or eyeball-to-eyeball.

    Did they wink at each other?

    The acts which an angry public are accusing President Aquino and our senators of perpetrating are so shameful, the English language actually has no words for the one who gives the bribe, and the one who takes the bribe (like, say, the words vender and vendee). It’s as if the crimes are so unspeakable, Shakespeare’s tongue could not comprehend them.

    Of six dictionaries I consulted, only the Random House Dictionary of the English Language dared to list “briber” (the corruptor) and “bribee” (the corrupted).

    The way the Senate hearing went, both sides of the crime of bribery appeared to be calm and collected.

    Senate President Franklin Drilon shattered the tableau by stopping Senator Nancy Binay from forcing Abad to give his testimony under oath. What on earth was Drilon afraid of that she would ask ? Abad’s mentorship of Napoles? That Abad might be forced to perjure himself – like Bill Clinton lying, “I did not have sex with that woman”?

    The muzzling of the oath gave the impression that the dark side scored a point.

    When Drilon started lawyering for Abad, when Trillanes offered PR advice to the administration, and when Senators Recto, Osmena, Escudero, Angara, threw lifeless questions, it became apparent that everything had been rehearsed between the Cabinet and the Senate and that the questions had been planted. It looked like Darth Vader had won the day.

    But that’s only a momentary delusion of this shameless bunch.

    In fact, they have huge legal issues to hurdle, say the lawyer experts, starting with the Supreme court DAP decision.

    SC decision lists senators and their loot
    Remarkably, as if to seal the fact for posterity,

    The High Court in its DAP decision lists down each senator by name and the incentives/rewards they got for Chief Justice Corona’s impeachment, including the dates of fund releases.

    And it is the budget secretary attesting to the payoffs himself.

    The details can be found on pages 113-114 of the consolidated SC Decision (which includes the majority opinion, and the concurring and separate opinions).

    The damning information forms a key part of Justice Arturo Brion’s concurring and separate opinion. He reproduces as a footnote the full text of Secretary Abad’s official statement on the DAP releases to senators.

    I quote below Justice Brion’s narration and the text of Abad’s statement from the SC decision:

    1. The DAP and its origins
    “On September 28, 2013, Secretary Abad released an official statement, through the DBM website, explaining that the amounts released to Senators on top of their regular PDAF allocations towards the end of 2012 were part of a fund he called the DAP. He claimed that these releases were, in fact, not the “first time that releases from DAP were made to fund project requests from legislators” because the DAP had been in existence since the latter part of 2011.

    “In the course of hearing these petitions, the respondents submitted ‘evidence packets’ explaining how the DAP came into existence, and how it was operated.

    Statement of Secretary Florencio Abad: On the releases to the senators as part of the Spending Acceleration Program [Released on September 28, 2013].

    In the interest of transparency, we want to set the record straight on releases made to support projects that were proposed by Senators on top of their regular PDAF allocation toward the end of 2012. These fund releases have recently been touted as ‘bribes,’ ‘rewards,’ or ‘incentives.’ They were not. The releases, which were mostly for infrastructure projects, were part of what is called the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) designed by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to ramp up spending and help accelerate economic expansion. To suggest that these funds were used as “bribes” is inaccurate at best and irresponsible at worst.

    In 2012, most releases were made during the period October-December, based entirely on letters of request submitted to us by the Senators. Those who received releases during that period and their corresponding amounts were:

    Sen. Antonio Trillanes (October 2012-P50M), Sen. Manuel Villar (October 2012-P50M), Sen. Ramon Revilla (October 2012-P50M), Sen. Francis Pangilinan (October 2012-P30M), Sen. Loren Legarda (October 2012-P50M), Sen. Lito Lapid (October 2012-P50M), Sen. Jinggoy Estrada (October 2012-P50M), Sen. Alan Cayetano (October 2012-P50M), Sen. Edgardo Angara (October 2012-P50M), Sen. Ralph Recto (October 2012-P23M; December 2012-P27M), Sen. Koko Pimentel (October 2012-P25.5M; November 2012 -P5M; December 2012-P15M), Sen. Tito Sotto (October 2012-Pl lM; November 2012-P39M), Sen. Teofisto Guingona (October 2012-P35M; December 2012-P9M), Sen. Serge Osmefia (December 2012-P50M), Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile (October 2012-P92M) Sen. Frank Drilon (October 2012-PIOOM).

    There were two earlier releases made in late August of that same year: Sen. Greg Honasan (P50M) and Sen. Francis Escudero (P99M).

    No releases were made in 2012 to Senators Ping Lacson, Joker Arroyo, Pia Cayetano, Bongbong Marcos and Miram Defensor-Santiago.

    In 2013, however, releases were made for funding requests from the office of Sen. Joker Arroyo (February 2013 – P47M) and Sen. Pia Cayetano (January 2013-P50M). The 24th Senator then, Benigno S. Aquino III, was already President.

    This was not the first time that releases from DAP were made to fund project requests from legislators. In 2011, the DAP was instituted to ramp up spending after sluggish disbursements-resulting from the

    Government’s preliminary efforts to plug fund leakages and seal policy loopholes within key implementing agencies-caused the country’s GDP growth to slow down to just 3.6%. During this period, the government also accommodated requests for project funding from legislators and local governments, GOCCs, and national government agencies.

    Arroyo, Marcos, Santiago did not get DAP funds
    In summary then, only Senators Joker Arroyo, Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr. and Miriam Defensor Santiago did not receive DAP funds during the 15th Congress.

    This is consistent with their vote to acquit Chief Justice Corona in his impeachment trial in the Senate.

    Sen. Ping Lacson, who voted to convict, also did not get a DAP fund release. He got his reward later in the form of a cabinet post.

    Abad ran circles around the budget
    For Abad, hurdling a moro-moro at the Senate is one thing. Hurdling questioning by the Supreme Court is something else altogether.

    Apart from the testimony of documents, Abad could not adequately explain or defend his implementation of the DAP before the high court.

    Under direct questioning by Justices Brion, Bersamin and Carpio, Abad was repeatedly shown up as being less than honest.

    In his opinion, Brion writes : “As a lawyer and with at least 12 years of experience behind him as a congressman who was even the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, it is inconceivable that he (Abad) did not know the illegality or unconstitutionality that tainted his brainchild. Consider, too, in this regard that all appropriation, revenue and tariff bills emanate from the Lower House so that the Chair of the Appropriations Committee cannot but be very knowledgeable about the budget, its processes and technicalities. In fact, the Secretary likewise knows budgeting from the other end, i.e., from the user end as the DBM Secretary.

    “Armed with all this knowledge, it is not hard to believe that he can run circles around the budget and its processes, and did, in fact, purposely use this knowledge for the administration’s objective of gathering the very sizeable funds collected under the DAP.”

    Justice Carpio for his part criticized the Department of Budget and Management for not being candid with the court, and feigning ignorance of jurisprudence in which DBM had been a respondent.

    (Concluded in Yen Makabenta’s Oberver column on Thursday July 31)

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    29 Comments

    1. Nakakawalan na ng pagasa sa mga taong mga iniupo natin sa congresso. Mga senador, congressmen at presidente nagsasabwatan para mapagtakpan ang kanilang mga ginawang paglapastangan sa taong bayan. Nawawalan na ng tiwala ang taong bayan sa mga taong ito. Sa susunod na eleksyon huwag na natin silang iboto. Iton mga alipores ni Pnoy sa senado at congresso ay dapat managot din. Karma ang aabutin ninyo pag hindi kayo nagbago. Sana VP Binay ay hindi makipag alyansa sa mga taong ito at baka siya naman ang gaguhin pag dating ng araw. Naawa ako ay Pnoy siya ay nagamit sa kasakiman ng mga politikong nasa administrasyon.Magbago habang may panahon pa.Dahil pag di kayo nagbago sigurado maka karma kayo pati pamilya nyo.

    2. it was a classic example of partners in crime probing each other. senate will never be a right place for such investigation. Mr. YEN, thank you…

    3. Sana ung paiyak-iyak kuno nung magkuyang si Thief Executive at Queen of all media daw na si Kris kahapon eh wag kagatin ng taumbayan kasi “arte” lng nila un. Scripted un hindi real kundi reel. Gising mga pinoy. Garapalan na panloloko ng mga hinayupak na yan. Tapos ung diehard fans nila na si Drilon na magnanakaw at abogado ni A-bad boy at trapo na si Belmonte, parehong balimbing eh grabe makapalakpak.

    4. The letter request of each senator for the P50 million given by DBM was, I think, an after thought when the DAP erupted in September 2013, courtesy of Jinggoy Estrada. WIthout such requests from the senators, Abad and the DBM would be hard-pressed to explain giving away P50 million to P100 million for each senator and P10 million for each congressmen. Aquino and Abad just had to “sanitize” the stink of the giveaways.
      As a forensic accountant, I would probably do the same to cover-up. These letters had to be ANTE-DATED before the actual disbursement (October 2012) in order to have the semblance of validity and propriety. I would even venture to guess that these letters were crumpled or manhandled “to make then dated and old in appearance”.
      Of course, it goes without saying that ALL DATER MACHINES had to be adjusted to have the dates prepared and dates received by DBM all consistent. No date after OCtober 2012 and no date prepared coming after the date received by DBM. Even the logbooks had to be “adjusted”.
      In the event that cases of technical malversation or graft are filed, there is a chance that some error or blunder would be discovered in the documents. Lies covering lies are usually not perfect.

    5. Why does no one thinks of filing a graft and corruption case vz all the bribee in Senate and Congress to cleanse the legislative dept of corrupt politician? I’ll do it if I am a lawyer. Could we?

    6. Joseph Padre on

      Can someone remind the President of the Philippines that in a constitutional government, the constitution tramps even the President’s opinion, wishes or directives. President Aquino looks pitifully stupid by insisting that the DAP fund is good for the country. He used part of the money in his act of vengeance against the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to buy the votes of equally stupid and immoral members of the Senate He fails to recognize that the SC decision that the DAP fund is unconstitutional, and that the decision is final. His shameful suggestion that there is need for a body to act as referee between himself, as President, and the Supreme Court shows his arrogance and level of his incompetence as President. I am sorry to say that the Filipino people and President Aquino deserve each other. No wonder the Philippines is in such bad shape, economically, politically and socially.

    7. P. Akialamiro on

      I wonder if the members of Congress and government officials realize: that, the PDAF and DAP are the results of their undoings in the past that started as a small scale; that, whatever undoing they do now will always come out sooner or later. If they are taking all these things lightly, let’s all hope that democracy can withstand all these undoings which may seem trivial at the beginning, but eventually redounding to a devasating national problem, thereby eroding the trust and confidence of the entire population, obscuring the hopes and ideals of the people, especially the youth. Meanwhile, we the people should be more careful in choosing our leaders and be vigilant of these undoings, lest we will all be victims of our own ineptitude and undoings, too. May God bless the Philippines.

    8. You all have so much accusation against Pnoy since he became the president but up to now people are still strongly trusting him, do you guys know why?

    9. Yen, kawawa ang bayan sa mga hinayupak na senantong; kunsabagay pwede
      mong maihalintulad ang taong bayan bilang si Kristo sa pagitan ng mga
      magnanakaw na Senatong at Tongresmen na pinamumunuan ni Herodes,
      na may topak sa ulo.

    10. Hector Brigade on

      “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.” ~ Hebrews 13:17

      You can’t see the benefit right now, but it will come if you obey the Word of God. You may think that your salary or the payment you are receiving now for disobeying this verse is worth it. But think again. In the long run, you are doing the country a disservice and it will hound you, your family, and relatives. Because we are living in one archipelago ruled by one government. We are living in one planet which is already torn by grief and chaos. Before writing something, greatly consider if it will bring peace or not. We need to cooperate, understand, and have faith.

    11. Juan Pagbabago on

      I don’t care about the DAP. What I care about is what the government has done to date. Compare it with the previous administration and the issue about PDAF, DAP is insignificant for me. Everyone should consider what is the objective for the existence of the government, what it will take to achieve said change for a very corrupt nation, how do we want our future to become, and what we are willing to give for to acquire it.

      The term of our trusted leader is now almost over. Not providing access to DAP for him and his constituents will further slow the improvement of our country. Can we please unite and let our president achieve the climax of his administration?

      Oppositions, you have the next term if you can get it. Please wait and be patient a little while longer ok? Be humble and respect whom the people has voted for.

    12. Parang may mali Mr. Makabenta, kasi napapanood ko na at nababasa sa mga newspaper yung mga politicians na nakatanggap ng DAP.pero oara yatang may maling info ka na isinulat. Ayon sa iyo hindi nakatanggap ng DAP sina Arroyo, Santiago at Marcos. FYI lang, nabigyan po ng DAP itong si Arroyo.

      Ngayon po paano mo najajustify na suhol ang DAP kung ang mismong bumoto para mapawalang sala si Corona ay nakatanggap ng DAP? Pwede po bang sagutin ni Mr. Makabenta ang tanong ko.

      Kung hindi nya sasagutin, malinaw na hindi suhol ang DAP. At malinaw din na isa lang itong black propaganda.

      Maraming salamat po!

    13. Magkano kaya binenta ni Mabenta ang kanyang kaluluwa?

      Eto ba ang tinatawag nating mahisay na journalist? Na kapitapitagan?

      Malamang isa na namang tauhan ito ng mga gustong magpabagsak sa administrasyon ni PNoy.

      Isang paalala lan, huwag abusuhin ang pribelehiyong ibinigay sa iyo. Gamitin mo ito sa tama. Printed ito, balang araw makikita ng nga apo mo na mali ang iyong tinahak na landas.

      Na ikaw ay nagpagamit sa mga politikong kurakot at gahaman. Na ikaw ay nasuhulan na gumawa ng maling impormasyon, kumita lamang ng malaki.

      Isang nakapanghihinayang na katotohanan na marami sa ating mga ”propesyonal na manunulat’ ay ginagamit at nagpapagamit sa mga masasama.

    14. Corona was a midnight appointee of one of the corrupt president of the Philippines, no other than GMA. It is definitely obvious that there is no need to bribe the former Chief Justice Corona. The case was televised, we saw every single moment of the hearing. I don’t know why some people still believe that it was a bribe. If indeed it was a bribe then why former Senator Joker Arroye recieve DAP, remember he voted to acquit Corona. So stop making fabricated stories.

    15. Iisa lang ang kaso ng lahat ng pangalan na kasulat,pero tatlo lamang ang nakasuhan at naipakulong at ang mga ito ay halos allies ni noynoy lalo na itong si drilon, trillanes,abad na sobrang sipsip,aywan ko kung matuwid na landas ang dinadaan nitong si noynoy!!sobra ang kakapal ng mukha!!kahit sabihin na mabuti ang isang tao,pero kapagnadaya ka at nagnakaw, dapat parusahan!hindi dahil siya may nagawang mabuti, kung hindi dahil ang pinag -uusapan dito ay iyong nagawang masama!!mahirap bang unawain ito!!

    16. jose hernani m. parco on

      “he (Abad) did not know the illegality or unconstitutionality that tainted his brainchild.”

      of course he knows for sure but then again as a die hard lackey who sucks the hardest, “he does as he’s told”!

    17. Keep up the good columns, giving the whole picture. Not just the half-thruths being told.

    18. If its true santiago, marcos & arroyo didnt receive any dap funds during the 15th congress could that be the reason they aquitted corona, you say the other were bribed to find him guilty, it could also be said because those 3 wernt given any dap funds that they were upset & so wanted to punnish the administration & so sided with corona. I dont know but it could be right.

    19. Yen, I am an avid reader of your column in The Manila Times published in the internet. I salute you for your erudite and factual expose of Abnoy’s lies as “Thief Executive. Please continue your crusade though our dissent is just a whisper in wilderness or a ripple in the ocean. But eventually this small efforts will finally leave an indelible impact on the people’s consciousness. Though “lies said oftentimes ” would ripen into a moment of truth, is not always true. The sham Senate hearing wherein Sec. Butch Abad were treated like a baby is a shame to all those who acted irresponsibly like Senators Drilon, Trillanes, Osmena, Recto, Escudero, and Angara, who propounded “lifeless” or nonsense questions designed to help Abad frfom being grilled by opposition Senators. Nakakahiya kayong lahat na mga BABOY.

    20. Rogelio C. Lim on

      Paulit-ulit kong sinasabi, ang ika-limang sona nakaraan maging ang nakaraan 4 sona ay pagtitipon ng mga magnanakaw ng pinamumunuan ni Thief Executive Noynoy upang linlanging ang taong bayan. Pilit na gumagawa ng paraan si Noynoy bilang “briber” at ang mga mambabatas bilang “bribee” na gawing legal ang DAP dahil kitang kita ang pagnanakaw nila at maaring ipabalik sa kanila ito at makasuhan pa sila ng plunder. Ito din ang ikinakaba ni Senator JV Ejercito kaya sinabi niya na ibabalik niya ang P5million na tinanggap. Hindi dapat makalusot sila at dapat maparusahan lahat sila.

    21. Thanks for publishing the list of senatongs who received the money which were universally concluded as “bribes” to impeach Corona. Nakakahiya. What make it more shameful is that none of these senatongs ever refuted of receiving the money. These are our monies!!!! Wouldn’t the SC order the return of these back to the government?

    22. “Lie has certainly short legs” (Italian adage) was verified in the case of Butch Abad and his “brain child” DAP. What looked extremely disgusting was how the “fattest pork” (Drilon), came out of the stye to defend the “fox” (Abad) in lamp’s clothing! How the “mighty” have fallen from grace and decency the impact of which, is far more tragic and devastating than what the three successive plain crashes meant to human life, political understanding and global economy. Well. I might have sounded vitriolic in some of my past comments on PNoy’a performance as BOSS of the Filipino People, I haven’t totally withdrawn though my prayers for the enlightenment of PNoy. In God’s time and, if he would learn to open his eyes to the truth that without God he can do nothing, and that his “daang matuwid” would profit him nothing if he persists on pursuing the path of pride, hate and vindictiveness, because “God hates the proud but reserves his blessings and protection for the humble and obedient man”.

    23. Alejo Rosete on

      Mabenta talaga – Journalist Yen Makabenta, Mabuhay ka. More power to you.
      Mabuhay “Manila Times” for having a Columnist like you.

      Very well said and documented – straight from the “Horse Mouth” (Supreme Court – concurring opinions, Justices Brion & Carpio).

      Senate President Drilon? What? I am not surprised, lawyering for Abad. He also did lawyer for the Prosecution on the impeachment trial of Justice Corona. Supposed to be, Drilon is a Judge on the Impeachment Trial of Justice Corona but was a Prosecutor and and Judge at the same time. What kind of justice you will get?

      Senator Trillanes? Where is his Hyatt 10 scenario?

      Moro-Moro. It will surely backfire.

      Mabuhay: Senators Joker Arroyo, Miriam Santiago, Bongbong Marcos. Their votes during the impeachment trial of Justice Corona is consistent with their stand.

    24. nelson z. valles on

      Kailan kaya makukulong mga ito?Sana naman ay buhay pa tayong lahat kapag mangyari yon. Meron na bang isinampang kaso? Kung walang complainant ay walang asunto, walang hearing walang bista. Dapat mag magsampa na ng kaso sa mga ito.

    25. While I confirm that I voted to convict ex CJ Corona. I also confirm that I did not request for any project under DAP or PDAF, not only in 2013 but in all the previous years that I served as a senator of the republic, except for the second semester of my first term after I won in the senatorial election in May 2001.

      You are the only person who has so far suggested that my appointment as Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery was a reward. A humanitarian mission, no matter how self fulfilling can never be felt as a reward, much less a pay-off.

    26. Let us remember all those names, all bribed and corrupted by Thief Executive PNoy. These are the men and women who are making membership of the legislathief branch as a profitable business.

    27. SALVACION CAHAYAG on

      Mr. Makabenta, thank you for presenting the facts about the DAP. Filipino people
      it is worth looking and reading these facts as written by Mr. Makabenta. There is
      nothing more to doubt about what this corrupt administration did and has been
      doing to all of us Filipinos. All they do is lie and fool us all. These are not fabrications
      to demonize this president and abad but these are honest to goodness presentations
      of what is actually happening. Filipino people the ball is in your hands, read, understand and analyze these facts so you will be able to decipher who is corrupt
      and who violated the law. For after all, the Supreme Court after due deliberation
      that this administration and abad had indeed VIOLATED THE LAW. But it seems
      that despite the Supreme Court decision, this corrupt administration continue sowing intrigues and lies. Look at the figures for yourselves as to who bribed who and benefited from these bribes. FOR AFTER ALL FIGURES DO NOT LIE BUT LIARS
      DO FIGURES.