The Palace is taking the taxpayers for a ride on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) bandwagon . I am not surprised that President Benigno S. Aquino III will address the Filipino people on Monday, July 14, 6 p.m. on national television on issues regarding the DAP. Nine months ago, the President also appeared on national TV and defended the DAP saying that it should not be confused with the Pork barrel fund of the Congress.
“Hindi rin po pagnanakaw ang DAP. Ang pagnanakaw, ilegal; ang paggastos gamit ang DAP, malinaw na nakasaad sa Konstitusyon at sa iba pang mga batas”
We all know how that turned out. The Supreme Court with a vote of 13-1-0, declared as unconstitutional President Benigno Aquino III’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). The Palace obviously sugarcoated the benefits of DAP saying, it boosted the country’s economic growth. “The excuse of the Executive is the claim that DAP contributed significantly to GDP. And I quoted a study of World Bank. We traced that study and it’s very clear that the GDP rose because of totality of expenditures both private and public that year. DAP is only part of it. It’s the bigger sum of government expenditures. It was taken out of context,” says former national treasurer Leonor Briones .
Let’s not be fooled on their good faith defense. Faith, good or bad, does not require brains. Culpable violations do not include ignorance such as “Oops, is that what the law meant?”. President Aquino’s DAP doctrine is that “good intentions are superior to the Constitution which is dangerous.
Will the President say the same old argument?
What do you want to hear from President Aquino as he delivers the national address on DAP on Monday ?
“No more Motion of Reconsideration. The Executive will abide with the Supreme Court (SC) decision” are statements that I want to hear from the President. I want to hear him re-affirm transparency and accountability for everyone as he always reiterates in his speeches.
My friends on Facebook and Twitter replied to my query on what they want to hear from the President on DAP. Allow me to share some of their thoughts:
1. I want him to say only this, “I respect the SC decision. Let the axe fall where it may.”
2. Seriously, I’d like to see him eat humble pie. One is not born a leader and nor do leaders bear leaders.
3. We expect President to provide details on how DAP funds were spent and reaffirm his commitment to ‘daang matuwid.’
4. A complete list of sources of funds and rationale for declaring savings on each and the complete list of projects. It is his obligation. I want him to say he is firing Abad and admit to his own culpability.
5. Mr. President, is it really necessary to go against the Philippine Constitution to institute good and progress for the sake of our Country and People? Why?
6. President direct the Department of Justice to investigate the Department of Budget and Management on the DAP fiasco .
7. What gives them the right and what went into their minds implementing programs that juggle funds without respect to constitution and other institutional processes ?
8. I want to hear the President say there will be a cabinet revamp which I predicted to occur late this year.
9. “The buck stops with me”
10. “I am sorry” is a good start.
I am pleased that Dean Tony La Viña posted a wishlist in his facebook page which is almost similar to the response from my friends except for (b). He believes the President “is doing the right thing in addressing the nation on Monday on the DAP”. His wishlist includes the following:
(a) A full, not overly defensive, explanation of the DAP – its rationale, objectives, and achievements;
(b) A vigorous defense of Secretary Butch Abad and his cabinet who were in good faith and had only the best interests of the country in mind in implementing the DAP.
(c) An acknowledgement that the Supreme Court has spoken and the executive department will abide by that 13-0 decision. In this regards, it would be good to disclose the due diligence processes followed in crafting the DAP while admitting that the conclusions reached by the executive branch has been found erroneous by the Supreme Court which henceforth should be followed.
(d) A renewed commitment to separation of powers and not to be part of a war of the branches by attacking the Judiciary or working with Congress to attack the Judiciary. The people will not countenance that, I am sure.
(e) An explanation of the DAP allocations for legislators, senators and representatives alike and how these could be justified;
(f) An acknowledgement that mistakes can be made but lessons are learned and because of this we can move on as country and go back to walking the straight road of good governance the right way.
Most of us really want to hear the President talk on accountability and calling for a special audit on DAP and the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) from 2010 and up.
More importantly, let me remind the President that he took an oath of office to uphold the Philippine Constitution. The sovereignty of the people’s will lies in the Constitution. The DAP funds are the people’s money which Congress should decide under the General Appropriations Act (GAA) .
The President should abide by the Supreme Court decision.
Stock photo from Blog Watch. Some rights reserved.
As originally posted in Blog Watch, Philippine Online Chronicles.