• Tan admits getting P143-M DAP fund

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    THE OBJECTIVITY OF THE COMMISSION on Audit (COA) in its ongoing special audit of the releases made through the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) is now in question after the agency admitted that it also received  funds from the controversial program.

    COA Chairman Grace Pulido-Tan, who attended the Senate plenary debates on the 2014 proposed General Appropriations Act (GAA) on Monday night, confirmed that the agency received P143.7 million from DAP in 2012.

    Tan made the admission during intense questioning by Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada on the COA budget.

    “Your agency cannot be objective in its audit in the propriety and legality of the DAP when the agency itself is a recipient and beneficiary of the DAP even if there’s no irregularity in the disbursement,” Estrada told Tan.

    But the COA chief said that it is the Supreme Court (SC) and not the COA that will determine the legality of DAP. She explained that her agency is merely auditing the utilization of the funds released through the controversial acceleration program of the executive department.

    Tan admitted that she wrote a letter to Department of Budget and Management (DBM) requesting funding for the upgrade of COA computers and the procurement of other equipment and services.

    “We found a great backlog in the cases so we wanted to hire some consultants to help us. So I did request for that [extra fund],” she said, adding that the request was made in 2011.

    The COA chair said part of the DAP money was used to buy service vehicles for the agency’s head and commissioners.

    Of the P143.7 million DAP released to COA, Tan said that P68.3 million was used for the agency’s information technology (IT) infrastructure program, P2.79 went to the purchase of close-circuit television cameras, P4.6 million was paid to consultants and P5.115 million went to the purchase of vehicles.

    Tan said the remaining P63.545 million may be disbursed for the IT needs of the agency.

    Aside from being a recipient of DAP funds, Tan admitted hiring her daughter as her executive assistant, which according to Estrada could be a violation of COA’s own rules which prohibits the recruitment of relatives of government officials and personnel.

    The COA chair, however, made it clear that there are exceptions to the rule. She added that executive assistant positions are considered confidential and co-terminus with the appointing authority.

    Malacañang was quick to defend the use of DAP fund by the audit agency.

    Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said the use of DAP funds was based on the sound judgment of the officials concerned.

    “When the decision was made [to release the funds through DAP], it was based on the judgment of the officials that the action they took was in accordance with the law and did not violate the Constitution or any other law,” Coloma told reporters.

    “The questions of Sen. Estrada were part of the budget deliberation in the Senate.

    These have been answered that’s why there is no need to make further comments about it,” the Palace official said.

    “It is important that we appreciate the question in the right perspective. The question was posed as part of Senate deliberations on the budget of a government agency. If you are familiar with the procedure, a senator stands on the floor to ask questions from the proponent of the budget. It is the proponent of the budget not the agency itself that answers the questions directly,” he added.

    Impeachment
    On reports that President Benigno Aquino 3rd may be courting an impeachment case over DAP, Coloma said the chief executive is ready for such a scenario.

    “If our lawmakers want to do anything, it is within their right and the government will face whatever is thrown before it. The President had already made his reply. He was asked beforehand about it and he assured he is ready [to face impeachment]if it comes to that,” he added.

    Earlier, Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) president Vicente Joyas said that if the Supreme Court (SC) declares DAP unconstitutional, the President may be held liable for technical malversation, a solid ground for impeachment.

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

    Other petitions were separately filed by former Iloilo representative Augusto Syjuco, Manuelito Luna, Jose Malvar Villegas and the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa). Militant groups also filed a similar case before the High Court.

    Coloma said the president is confident that the DAP was not contrary to law.

    Former senator Panfilo Lacson said DAP “is good” if it used for its intended purpose.
    “It becomes illegal when it is used to fund other projects, much more if it is allocated to projects of congressmen and senators,” he said during yesterday’s Kapihan sa Manila Hotel.

    “Distributing DAP funds to legislators is a clear violation.  As a consequence, the Commission on Audit will issue a Notice of Disallowance,” he added.

    With a report from Jaime Pilapil

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    13 Comments

    1. Roldan Guerrero on

      Corazon Aquino invented PDAF and his son BSA invented DAP So what is the legacy that this mother and son did to the Filipino People? ITS NOTHING BUT BRINGING THIS COUNTRY INTO FULL MESH.

    2. gusto ko ang sinabi ni sen. santiago,,tungkol doon sa matanda, pogie at sexy,, tungkol sa sangkot sa pork barrel,, ito muna ang dapat unahing matapos ,,para makita ng taong bayan,, kung alin talaga ang tutoo,,gumagawa sila ng ibang kaso para tumagal ang kasong ito,, TAPUSIN MUNA ANG KASO NG PORK BARREL,,,

    3. To innocent: Kaya naglalabasan na ang baho sa gobyerno ay dahil sa kampanya ng daang matuwid. mismo. Saying that only now that taxes are being diverted, and robbed with the knowlledge of Pinoy are simply not true. You already forgot about the scandals during Ramos ,Estrada and Gloria’s adm. So Joc-Joc Bolante doesn’t sounds familiar to you to cite one example? Would you expect all government officials without exception to right away be saintly right after PNoy dec lared daang matuwid campaign? Totoong inocente ka pa nga o kaya ay nagbubulagbulagan lang. Ang kaibahan ki PNoy ay natatanggal ang mga maysala. SI Diokno,si Torres ng Land Transportation at mga may anomalyang directors sa Customs natanggal na.Supposed to be mga allies at kaibigan sila ni PNoy. Nangyari na ba ito ki Gloria? Syempre hindi agad-agad matatanggal lahat ang mga corrupt dahil mabagal ang demokrasya specially the justice system. The president cannot force the justices to do what he wants because they are of co-equal branch of the government. At sino naman ang ipapalit ninyo? Si Binay? Let her senator-daughter explain how was she able to earn 220 million as reported in her SALN when her only job was personal secretary ng Tatay niya?

    4. ….sabi raw ni Mr. Coloma….“When the decision was made [to release the funds through DAP], it was based on the judgment of the officials that the action they took was in accordance with the law and did not violate the Constitution or any other law.”

      Ganoon pala….mula nang magsimula si Nguyngoy manungkulan, mayroon bang ginawa para matulungan at maiangat ang sahod ng mga guro? na noon ay isa sa mga pangako niya noong eleksyon. ANG MGA PERA BANG PINAMUDMOD AT BINAHAGI NIYA MULA SA DAP AY HINDI BA MAARI O HINDI KARAPAT DAPAT SA MGA PUBLIC TEAHERS? NA ILANG TAON NG NAGHIHIRAP SA PAGTUTURO LALO NA KUNG PANAHON NG ELEKSYON, SILA ANG NALALAGAY SA PELIGROSO SITWASYON.

    5. When COA officials requested an appropriation for their office esp. in the purchase of motor vehicles, of course the President can’t say “no”. Why? because they are the auditors. DAF was disbursed illegally, There was no supplemental budget to it’s effect.
      What is not included in the Annual Budget should not be disbursed unless there’s a law to augment in the regular budget from savings,
      Also, it should not be given in lump sum to senators and congressmen without specific purpose.
      IF YOU ARE GOOD IN THE PHIL YOU ARE BAD; IF U RE BAD U R GOOD.

    6. I thought that this people who are investigating the scam are intelligent. If i who are not smarter than they are could smell that their something stink, why this people could not.
      In my view old of this start popping out, so they could trow away the case. You see the more scam they this covered the more the case will take longer until such time, the next president will be replace by their own. So in other words this people are buying more time as possible. You see this people exposing scam that you could not find, the more you look at it the more your investigation will be in mess. Why don’t you try the first case first and let another agency find the other scam and save it after the first is settled in that case you will complete the first mission.

    7. I would like to ask jingo estrada where the coa should get their funding from. Should the staff there pay for the computers for the offices, should the staff pay for the it to operate the computers for the office, should the staff pay for the vehicles for the office staff use. If the money is coming from government then what is wrong with it. Its what happens after the government gives the money is the problem. Esradas money went missing & wasnt used for funding projects but to line peoples pockets. He is trying to twist things & take the heat from himself. Dont get distracted by this thief trying to use brains to deceive us all.He could have used all his funds for legal justified projects & followed them from inception to completion but he didnt why, very simple because he wanted his share of that money thats why, & he got it.

    8. If the Supreme Court is serious about interpreting the law correctly and independently, why are there reports that Malacanang hatchet men are busy lobbying individual justices to declare DAP constitutional and legal? Already, reports have it that all the Aquino-appointed justices are leaning towards siding with Aquino. Like a case that is being decided in court, isn’t it illegal to try to influence the judge’s decision? Or is the president exempted from that?

      • its like the corona impeachment trial all over again, but this time, its the supreme court justices who are being “influenced” into twisting the law to suit the higher up.

    9. Senator Santiago sounded like an angel when she said that 50% of government employees are corrupt while the other 50% are still questionable. Now the proof has came nakedly before the eyes of every Filipino how the government employees from the different offices were linked to corruption. Ang karamihan nakasandig na ngayon sa bayan patungo sa rihas na bakal at may naka bantay pa.

    10. Wow! Almost in a daily basis the public is barraged with so many scams, scandals and illegal activities including money. When will this end? This is historical, so to speak, because it is only now where public money from hard-earned taxes of common folks are being diverted, manipulated and robbed with the knowledge and approval of the powerful, money-hungry administration of BS Aquino. Never in the history of the Philippines, other than the Marcos era where we can experience a blatant abuse of authority of the PNoy administration.

    11. The caption under forrner senator Lacson’s picture says “Aquino prodded me to use my pork.” There is no reference to that in this story whose last paragraphs are about Lacson. What is that all about?