Senate investigation of DAP unlikely

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The proposed Senate investigation into the incentives allegedly given to senators and congressmen who voted to convict Chief Justice Renato Corona, coursed through the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), is unlikely to be scheduled this year, according to Sen. Francis Escudero.

Escudero, who heads the Committee on Finance, said that while the panel is willing to do the investigation, assigning a date for it may be difficult since the chamber will be focusing on the P2.268-trillion proposed 2014 budget when session resumes on November 18.

He admitted the committee has yet to read the resolution for the inquiry, although it has been referred to the finance committee before the three-week break last month.

Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito filed Senate Resolution 287, which seeks to determine if there was any violation in realigning P72.11 billion in DAP funds from slow-moving government projects.


Ejercito wants the Senate to examine the Aquino administration’s DAP which legal experts consider unconstitutional.

Senators Franklin Drilon, then Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Escudero received more than P50 million from DAP in 2012. The rest got P50 million.

Escudero said that since the Senate plans to hold morning and afternoon budge sessions, it would be difficult to find time for an inquiry.

He said that if the senators really wanted to scrutinize DAP they can question budget officials during the budget sessions.

Escudero said the finance committee can be converted into a committee of the whole so senators can directly question Budget Secretary Florencio Abad about DAP.

Meanwhile, the Senate remained undecided on what to do with its Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) despite earlier pronouncement by Drilon that 17 senators support its abolition.

Escudero said that while most of the senators favor the scrapping of PDAF, they differ on how to go about it.

He said there are some who wanted the pork barrel allocation realigned to health and education, while others wanted it added to calamity funds.

“So this will be the issue and all of us will be submitting our respective positions on what to do with the PDAF by November 11,” he said.

JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA

 

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