How the layman understands the DAP issue
President Aquino’s televised speech defending the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and attacking the Supreme Court for declaring it unconstitutional was bombastic, showed arrogance, and was even threatening.
“We do not want two equal branches of government to go head to head, needing a third branch to step in to intervene,” he blustered. Meaning he, as chief executive, will defy the high court’s decision, and hinting that Congress, as the third branch of government, will intervene. And everybody knows that he has members of Congress by their balls, thanks to the DAP and the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), better known as the pork barrel.
He said DAP funds were used to help the people. “I cannot accept that there are people who would be harmed because I allowed the delay in the delivery of benefits. Let us not forget: It’s the people who own the public coffers.”
“Luma na ’yan,” the same argument that members of Congress used to justify the pork barrel—that the money was spent for the people, which is not true at all. It was spent primarily for the lawmakers; the pitiful few pesos spent for the people were only camouflage.
P-Noy misses the whole point. The Supreme Court decision was clear to non-lawyers. Shorn of all the legal gobbledygook, this is how the layman understands the issue:
The tribunal declared the DAP unconstitutional because he, the President, and his budget secretary usurped the power of Congress to appropriate the funds before they can be spent by the executive branch. Read the Constitution that was promulgated by your own mother when she was the president. It says that Congress makes the laws, the executive branch implements the laws, and the judiciary interprets the laws. The budget is a law passed by Congress. The President, powerful as he is, cannot spend people’s money that has not been appropriated by Congress for a specific purpose.
He is right, the people own the public coffers. And even the President has no right to spend the people’s money without authorization from their representatives, which is Congress.
But what did the executive branch do? The budget secretary hijacked funds appropriated by Congress for certain projects and offices and spent them for other purposes and offices. Secretary Florencio Abad called them “savings.”
But “savings” is money not spent after the completion of the project and at the end of the fiscal year. Only then can they be considered “savings.” But Abad hijacked the funds before the projects were completed and long before the end of the year. No wonder there was so much money collected for the DAP.
The Administrative Code that P-Noy claims authorizes him to transfer funds allows him to transfer funds from one project to another, or from one office to another, but not to an office outside of the branch to which it was appropriated. The Supreme Court calls it “cross border” transfers.
But what did P-Noy and Abad do? They transferred funds appropriated for the executive branch to members of Congress. Why? To use the money to bribe senators to convict impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona.
P-Noy claimed there was transparency in the use of the funds. What transparency? Hello?! If Sen. Jinggoy Estrada had not exposed it in his speech in the Senate, it would still be a secret today and they would still be using the DAP for bribery.
Some senators said that when they were told that there would be money for their projects, they did not know, or was not told, where they were coming from. Is that transparency?
With the PDAF already declared unconstitutional, the President needs another fund with which to bribe lawmakers. He needs funds to use as carrot-and-stick so that lawmakers do what he wants them to do. That was the DAP.
The dynamic duo, P-Noy and Abad, said that the DAP was used to speed up government spending to boost the economy. What have the legislators to do with it? If the government only wanted to spend money quickly, why course it through the lawmakers? There are so many things that the people need, but the administration claims there is no money. Now it says the government is not spending it fast enough. There are so many schools that need to be built, homes for the homeless, help for the typhoon victims, jobs for the jobless, hospitals for the sick, feeder roads to make it easier for farmers to bring their produce to the market, but the government is not doing them. Excuse: No money. Yet it had P425 billion in savings. Imagine what P425 billion can do to improve the lives of the people.
The dynamic duo said the DAP was intended to accelerate government spending. So why are typhoon victims complaining that rehabilitation work is too slow?
P-Noy was obviously courting public opinion to support him in this clash with the high tribunal, to the point of telling them to wear yellow ribbons, harking to the time when his father Ninoy was coming home from exile in the United States and the Filipinos welcome him with yellow ribbons.
How pathetic. That’s how desperate P-Noy has become.
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