Calls for Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad’s explanation on the use of funds released through the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) continued to mount on Wednesday as Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino 4th also urged the Budget chief to enlighten the public about the projects undertaken under the program, which was struck down last week by the Supreme Court.
Aquino, a cousin of the President, said Abad must come up with a detailed report on DAP projects.
“Ako, hinihintay ko rin ang paliwanag niya [Abad] kung saan napunta yung mga pera [I am also waiting for his explanation as to where the funds were spent],” he added.
Aquino noted that a scrutiny of how the DAP funds were disbursed would help determine if officials who received DAP allocations used the monies “for their own personal gain.”
Earlier, senators Francis Escudero and Grace Poe sought Abad’s explanation.
Escudero challenged Abad to face the people and explain the DAP to them. He said the
Senate will schedule another round of investigations on the acceleration program.
Poe reacted sharply to Abad’s silence.
She said Abad, believed to be the architect of the disbursement program, is the competent official who could give a detailed and an official explanation on the matter.
A complaint for plunder was filed against Abad on Tuesday at the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the DAP.
But Malacañang said the Cabinet member could not be guilty of the offense because he “did not in any manner gain” from the program.
”Did Secretary Butch Abad squander the money? No. Was the money stolen? No. Very, very clear, categorical answers that neither [of the]acts happened,” Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said also on Wednesday.
“Whenever you’re confronted with a criminal action, or specifically a criminal case, you look at the elements of the crime. Does the act fit all the elements of the crime? And if it does not, then there is no case. My shallow, shallow reading of plunder [tells me], you are required to have personal gain. And Secretary Butch Abad did not in any manner, shape or form gain from any of [the]funds from [the]program,” he added.
Lacierda said Abad has been silent because he is “occupied with budget preparations.”