by Dean de la Paz as originally posted at DAP and the Culpable Violation of the Constitution
After the declaration of unconstitutionality by the Supreme Court on Benigno Aquino III’s notorious Presidential Disbursement Acceleration Program (PDAP or DAP) the public now seeks accountability from those responsible for the misappropriation, misuse and malversation.
Malacanang, given Aquino’s smoking gun John Hancock approval on DAP documents, in classic lame and feeble fashion, simply defends its complicity by saying that the misappropriation boosted domestic productivity; that these had gone to economic growth enhancement programs; and that the end justifies the means – the very kind of bullshit applied by dictators who thwart from the democratic and accountable processes and sink to the tyrannical and autocratic in the name of economic gain.
The defensive tact is understandable. The ploy is insisted upon by the presidential spokesman as it is consistent with the imagery slowly enveloping Aquino. While the indirect side-effect reinforces the image of a constantly clueless leader, it directly proposes that DAP was based on good intentions. Never mind the means. Only the end matters.
Funny. It was Niccolo Machiavelli who first proposed such focus now both adhered and subscribed to by Aquino if only to protect the presidential posterior.
Such legal defensive stance recognizes the foundations of the strictly statutory and limiting concept of culpability under criminal law. While the unconstitutional nature of the DAP is a definitive violation of the law, to exact accountability, and eventually, punishment, those accountable must be culpable – that what they did was not only wrong, they knew they were doing the wrong thing and despite such knowledge, continued to do the wrong thing.
In layman’s terms, this differentiates between acts done “in good faith” and acts done “in bad faith” thus reducing culpability to a question of intent.
“Culpable violation of the constitution” is defined simply as the intentional, deliberate and wrongful breach of the mother of all laws. The standards vary among jurisdictions and may be amorphous and debatable. It does not include the unintentional. It does not include negligence, even if negligence means the failure to ascertain consequences, hidden agenda or subterfuge.
Note the absurdity. In the aftermath of the Corona impeachment, as Php 1.2 billion was being parceled out as DAP among the senator-judges who voted Corona guilty, Aquino did not bother to ask his “Mini Me” budget secretary why certain senators were allotted Php 50 million while others Php 200 million.
Aggravating the absurdity, we now know from the PDAF investigations that at least Php 435 million in DAP funds allotted to the senator-judges flowed to the Napoles non-government organizations.
If what constitutes culpability does not include such negligence, it likewise does not include cluelessness. Faith, good or bad, does not require brains. Culpable violations do not include ignorance such as “Oops, is that what the law meant?”
One neophyte senator who received large allotments from the PDAF and DAP claims ignorance as to its origins. He thus proposes that only those whose funds are misused are culpable. This ludicrousness ignores the SC decision that states that the DAP is unconstitutional because it misappropriated from the very start. Usage is inconsequential. If at all, it is a post facto mitigating circumstance.
The public should take voter education seriously next time. Lest we elect more crooks and morons in government.
Finally, culpability also does not include the misinterpretation of the constitution’s legal construction when a subsequent act is made in good faith.
Good faith is anchored on the argument that what the president and his Mini Me had done was initially thought to be for the greater good, or at least they had intended the DAP for that purpose. Like a Hallmark card, it’s the thought that counts. Thus, not only was economic growth an objective, the impetus for the DAP at the spawning stage was focused on it.
Two of the three criteria employed by Aquino focused on either growth or poverty alleviation. Never mind that on the way to the GDP growth they claim was achieved, sandwiched in between was the impounding and then the diversion of over Php 149 billion through politicians that include those now detained for the PDAF scandals, bosom buddies eyeing 2016, and others zig-zagging from the straight path on a course to their Swiss banks.
This load of bovine sciatica is the kind of political excess and excrement dumped from the rectal apertures and orifices of smart ass officials who should be enjoying the hospitality of the PNP custodial center.
By being bullheaded that the end justifies the means is a preemptive defense against judicial processes whether these are the unfortunate political exercise of an impeachment, or criminal charges of misappropriations and culpable violations slapped when those responsible vacate their offices.
There is righteous indignation and bloodlust and it is justified coming on the heels of plunder indictments on those illegally allotted both the PDAF and DAP. The public is incensed. Exponentially larger than the already illegal PDAF, Aquino’s unconstitutional DAP was similarly diverted through the same Ka Cosa Nostra and den of thieves from which those currently indicted for the PDAF pursue their crafty craft.
The Supreme Court decision, couched in politically polite, watered down, and nearly benign verbiage on the aspect of criminal culpability, bearing undeniable political correctness and perhaps even legal kid gloves, is, nevertheless, a critical first step in a long and arduous crusade to exact punishment on crooks who’ve effectively robbed us.
That it is technically benign is understandable. Exacting vengeance characterizes this government’s modus. For one, the DAP that flowed through the senator-judges was propelled by vengeance. For another, coming on the heels of the SC’s recent DAP decision, it might likewise be vengeance behind the latent directives to investigate the Judicial Development Fund.
It is unfortunate that those tasked to impeachment the culpable are the same characters through whom the PDAF and PDAP (Presidential DAP) flow profusely. It is our misfortune that we are forced to endure the rape. Until 2016, we are helpless.
Stock photo from POC . Some rights reserved.