INSTEAD of fueling economic development, the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) was used by the Aquino administration to fuel its political agenda, an opposition coalition said on Friday.
The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) questioned the motive of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) in releasing DAP to some lawmakers as the fund was not actually used to accelerate development.
UNA, which is a political coalition formed by Vice President Jejomar Binay and former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, contested the administration’s Team PNOY during the 2013 senatorial race.
Navotas Rep. Tobias “Toby” Tiangco, who is UNA’s secretary general, said if the government is serious enough in accelerating economic development, then the fund should have been poured to areas stricken by both man-made and natural calamities.
“If [Budget] Sec. Butch Abad intended the DAP to accelerate development, then it should have been used to accelerate development in the areas of conflict in Mindanao or for the rehabilitation of Bohol after the earthquake or for the rehabilitation of Yolanda-stricken provinces,” he said.
He stressed that the DAP was actually “invented” to accelerate the Administration’s political agenda, and to establish their control over other co-equal branches of government.
Tiangco, who testified during the impeachment trial of ousted Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Renato Corona, said the DAP was used as an excuse to influence some senator-judges to convict the latter.
“No one knew DAP until the time na nabuking sila Abad. It was used as an excuse to cover the P50 million bribe to senators for the conviction of Corona, and the P10 million given to congressmen who signed the impeachment complaint,” he said.
He likewise shot down the government’s argument of the DAP being “moot and academic” saying that it is just a trick for the High Court to dismiss the nine petitions questioning its constitutionality since DAP no longer exists as a program.
Because of this, Tiangco urged the Supreme Court to finally rule on the legality of the DAP and to ultimately declare it unconstitutional in order to stop the Administration from resurrecting it.
“This is a lame alibi and is actually an implied admission that they know that the DAP is unconstitutional, ” Tiangco said.
According to Tiangco, DAP is patently illegal since it is the same mechanism ruled by the SC in the Demetria vs Alba case in 1987.
In 1987, during the time of President Cory Aquino, the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional the illegal transfer of funds by former President Ferdinand Marcos.
He added that it is imperative for the Supreme Court to decide on its constitutionality to prevent the Aquino Administration in using the same “fund transfer mechanism” in the future.
Tiangco said he does not buy the arguments of the Solicitor General that the Administration has stopped the implementation of the controversial discretionary fund.
“If it’s true that the DAP has brought significant economic benefits to the projects it funded, then, why suddenly abandon and kill a good program? It just doesn’t make sense at all,” he said.
The UNA secgen warned that the SC justices that controversial fund may soon morph into another form if its constitutionality is not decided upon soon.
“Chances are, the Administration will come up with some creative ways to use taxpayers money to illegally control the judiciary and legislature. Abad says that DAP is dead. But just like Elvis, there have been sightings,” Tiangco said.
RITCHIE A. HORARIO