PNoy defends DAP, slams SC

By Ira Pedrasa,

July 14, 2014

MANILA – As expected, President Benigno Aquino III, on Monday night, defended the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and criticized the Supreme Court for its ruling declaring the economic stimulus program unconstitutional.

“My message to the Supreme Court: We do not want two equal branches of government to go head to head, needing a third branch to step in to intervene. We find it difficult to understand your decision,” he said in a televised nationwide address.

“You had done something similar in the past, and you tried to do it again; there are even those of the opinion that what you attempted to commit was far graver.”

Although he did not specify it, Aquino is believed to have been referring to the Supreme Court’s use of the Judiciary Development Fund, where savings have been used for other purposes other than the money was intended for.

A motion for reconsideration of the DAP ruling will be filed soon, Aquino said.

“In the system the Supreme Court is ordering us to bring back, it might take two more rainy seasons before we are able to relocate our countrymen. Let us remember: about twenty typhoons come our way each year. Is it right to ask those living in hazardous areas to just leave everything to prayer?” he said.

He insisted the government never violated the law.

Aquino reiterated his administration merely sought to hasten the release of funds to provide for the needs of the public.

He again blasted the past administration, noting his government had a lot to do to economic growth.

“DAP is not a project—it is an efficient way of spending the budget; it follows the law and adheres to the mandate granted to the Executive Branch. We did this to properly allocate funds, and by so doing maximize the benefits that the people may receive,” he said.

He said the high court seemed to have snubbed a provision in the Administrative Code of 1987, which gives the Executive the authority to use savings in appropriations to cover deficits.

Section 39 of Book IV, Chapter 5 of the Administrative Code provides that, “any savings in the regular appropriations authorized in the General Appropriations Act for programs and projects of any department, office or agency, may, with the approval of the President, be used to cover a deficit in any other item of the regular appropriations.”

He said the high court did not even discuss this provision, which was clearly explained when the DAP was argued by government lawyers.

He insisted this provision in the Administrative Code has not been scrapped.

Aquino said the high court already assumed there was no good faith in the implementation of the DAP.

“But in their decision, the judges immediately presume the absence of good faith, which would then have to be proven through trial. What happened to the principle of innocent until proven guilty?”

He urged the high court to reverse its ruling.

He also “impressed” upon the public: “DAP is good. Our intentions, our processes, and the results were correct. Bosses, I promise you: I will not allow your suffering to be prolonged—especially if we could do what we can as early as now.”

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