DAVAO CITY — The Supreme Court yesterday declared “some acts and practices” of the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (Dap), the National Budget Circular No. 541 and related executive issuances as “unconstitutional.”
The High Court cited the following for violating section 25(5), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution and the doctrine of the special powers: ” a) withdrawal of unobligated allotments from the implementing agencies, and the declaration of the withdrawn unobligated allotments and unreleased appropriations as savings prior to the end of the fiscal year and without complying with the statutory definition of savings contained in the General Appropriation Acts; b) cross-border transfers of the savings of the Executive to augment the appropriations of other offices outside the executive, and c) funding of projects, activities and programs that were not covered by any appropriation in the General Appropriations Act.”
SC’s Public Information Office (PIO) using its official twitter, @SCPh_PIO said the justices voted unanimously with 13 yes, 0 no and 1 taking no part.
“The dispositive portion was authorised to be read; the Decision itself will be promulgated as soon as editing is done and separate opinions are submitted. The following will submit separate opinions: SAJ Carpio, AJ Brion, Del Castillo, Bernabe and Leonen,” said the SC PIO.
Aquino crtitics hailed the SC decision and pushed for his impeachment.
For Bayan Muna partylist representative Atty. Karlos Ysagani Zarate the SC decision is “just a partial victory of the people in the fight against the pork barrel system.”
“As we have orally argued before the High Court, DAP is a form of budgetary dictatorship of the Aquino administration that run afoul with the letter and spirit of the Constitution,” said Zarate.
Zarate who also called DAP as “presidential pork barrel” said that the Aquino administration “even worsened the graft-ridden and patronage-driven pork barrel system.
The pork barrel system or the Priority Development Assistance Fund (Pdaf), was also declared by the SC as unconsitutional.
The pork barrel, a discretionary fund allocated for the use of legislators, was the cause of a public outrage after allegations of corruption involving billions of pesos was revealed in a Commission on Audit report.
“The DAP exposes the hypocrisy of the Aquino administration’s hallow, selective and even deceptive anti-corruption campaign. For this gravely unconstitutional act, Pres. Aquino , Sec. Abad and all those responsible foe DAP must be made accountable, in the same manner that those involved in the PDAF are to be made accountable.,” said Zarate.
Fr. Joel Tabora, president of the the Ateneo de Davao University, says he “agree(s) with the decision.”
“It belongs to Congress to legislate the use of public funds. Malacañan may not usurp this power through ‘savings,’” said Tabora.
For No to Pork Alliance Davao City and Pagbabago! (Change!) Southern Mindanao Region Convener Atty. Fatima Adin-Purisima “there is a very strong ground to pursue impeachment case against Pnoy.”
“Pnoy and his cohorts deliberately created DAP in order to justify disbursement and/or allocation of funds to projects or programs that are not included in the GAA (General Appropriations Act),” Adin-Purisima said.
“Clearly, and as already stated by the Highest Court in its recent decision on DAP, this is an act of encroachment by the executive on a legislative function.”
Adin-Purisima said that “under the Philippine Constitution, impeachment case is proper when there is culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust.”
“Investigation of Abad and Aquino is certainly a must in order to gather evidences to prove that in fact it was deliberate on the part of these persons to use DAP as an avenue to cover up for their wrongful actions,” Adin said.
Meanwhile, Sr. Noemi Degala, of the Sisters’ Association in Mindanao (Samin) said that with “DAP being unconstitutional, the act of Abad as the brain of DAP is an act of cheating all Filipinos, an act of dishonesty, an act of stealing!”
“Thus, its not an omission rather, an abuse of their power and authority, a conscious choice of deceiving & fooling deliberately the masses,” Degala said.
Degala said that it’s time “for the people to demand accountability, now!”
“Let d process of impeachment begin!” she said. (davaotoday.com)