The Supreme Court (SC) en banc is expected to “bury” on Tuesday the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) of President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
Based on the SC en banc agenda for February 3, the High Court will deliberate and vote on the DAP issue today reportedly based on a draft opinion penned by Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin, which denies Malacañang’s motion for reconsideration.
Out of the 15 justices, only 13 are expected to vote on the DAP case.
Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo-de Castro and Francis Jardeleza inhibited themselves from the case.
Leonardo-de Castro recused herself, citing her close association with one of the lawyers of the parties, while Jardeleza was the former government lawyer who defended the DAP.
Associate Justice Arturo Brion, who is on leave, left his vote on the DAP issue with his separate opinion that vigorously slams Malacañang.
Unimpeachable sources at the SC told The Manila Times that Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno has raised some “points to consider” on the DAP case.
Sereno is reportedly hesitant to write a separate opinion that would chastise Malacanang and further earn the ire of the President.
“Sereno is caught between the devil and the deep blue sea in this case. That’s why she will just raise some ‘points to consider’ (on the DAP),” the sources said.
In his draft resolution, Bersamin junked the motion for reconsideration being sought by the Palace.
The sources said the President is reportedly not happy with Sereno and Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, both Aquino appointees, for their failure to defend the DAP.
They added that both justices support the opinion that the DAP shall be covered by the doctrine of operative facts.
In the Bersamin resolution, the doctrine of operative facts was even more amplified as it argued that “good faith” is presumed unless proven otherwise.
This means that bad faith must be established against President Benigno Aquino 3rd and Budget Secretary (Florencio) ‘Butch’ Abad, the DAP masterminds, in order to impeach the President.
The SC declared the DAP unconstitutional in July 2014.