Groups to file impeach raps vs. Aquino over DAP

by Emily Vital, as originally posted at Philippine Online Chronicles

After the Supreme Court declared the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) as unconstitutional, progressive group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) is now preparing to file an impeachment case against President Benigno S. Aquino III once Congress resumes its session this month. In an report, Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes said, “An impeachment is inevitable. It is our duty to fight for accountability, no matter the odds in Congress.” In a statement Reyes further explained, “The Supreme Court has ruled that the President violated the Constitution through various acts under his Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). Since the President is immune from suit, the only way to hold him accountable now is to impeach and convict him first then file the appropriate criminal and civil cases once he is removed from office.” Bayan Muna Partylist also said that they are ready to endorse impeachment complaints against Aquino in Congress even if majority of House members are allies of the President. “Aquino et. al. must be made accountable. While the House is still controlled by majority of Aquino allies — many ironically are also rabid allies before of former President Arroyo when impeachment complaints were filed against her — ultimately history will be mindful of the fact that the people demanded accountability from a deceptive president peddling the hypocritical program of matuwid na daan,” said Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate But Constitutional law expert Fr. Joaquin Bernas said that since Aquino has the numbers in both houses of Congress, impeachment will not prosper. “Impeachment, even if there are grounds, is difficult because it is under the control of Congress, and Congress is controlled by him (Aquino). So I don’t see how it will prosper, it will be a waste of time,” Bernas said in an ABS-CBN report. Bayan recognizes that even if Aquino’s allies dominate both House of Congress, impeachment is the prescribed way of holding the highest officials of the country accountable for their wrongdoing. “It is our duty to bring the SC decision to its logical conclusion, which is to punish those who violated the Constitution and betrayed the people’s trust. As the High Court said in its decision, the proponents and architects of DAP will have to prove before the proper tribunals that they acted in good faith.”

Kabataan Partylist Rep. Terry Ridon said the Supreme Court decision on the DAP pointed towards the filing of civil, administrative and criminal charges against Aquino and budget secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad. Ridon quoted a paragraph in the 92-page decision penned by Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin: “The decision of operative fact can apply only to the PAPs [projects, activities, and programs] that can no longer be undone, and whose beneficiaries relied in good faith on the validity of the DAP, but cannot apply to the authors, proponents and implementers of the DAP, unless there are concrete findings of good faith in their favor by thee proper tribunals determining their criminal, civil, administrative and other liabilities.” Ridon said it was clear that the Supreme Court was referring to Aquino and Abad as the “authors, proponents, and implementers” of the DAP who were open to an investigation into their criminal, civil and administrative liabilities. “The justices of the Supreme Court are in fact telling the Filipino people that Aquino and Abad should be held liable over the DAP,” he added.