DAP worse than pork

By Amado P. Macasaet 
Malaya

DAP-Pork-barrelSo far, it is estimated that more than P150 billion has been disbursed by the President under the Disbursement Acceleration Program. This fund is not appropriated in the General Appropriations Act.

The money that makes up the fund for the DAP is actually pooled savings of all government agencies. Sensibly, the savings should revert to the General Fund, if only to prevent the agencies from using the money as bonuses and other benefits while their performance does not come up to expectations.

The necessity of transferring the savings to the General Fund is precisely to stop its use for the benefit of the officials and employees of the agencies.

In the same light, the savings should not be pooled by the President into one fund and use it at his sole discretion even if the purpose is noble.

Pooling the savings into one fund is an act of appropriation, a function that under the Constitution, is exclusive to the Legislative Branch. Therefore, the wisdom or lack of wisdom in disbursing the fund does not diminish the “crime” committed by the President in usurping the functions of the Legislature.

The means cannot justify the end even if the end is noble. That Machiavellian practice dies naturally in a country that claims to be a democracy.

The pork barrel, declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, is allocated in the budget. Still the President has complete control over its release. Lawmakers file a request for release with the Office of the President. The lawmaker is required to justify its use as if to show that government is careful with taxpayers’ money.

Because pork barrel is defined as a reward for political patronage, the President has the sole authority to reject a request for fund release if in his belief it does not promote his political interest or patronage or that of his political party.

That makes the release of pork absolutely selective and based almost solely on the political gains or votes the political party of the President can get.

If the lawmaker is a loyal follower or supporter of the President or his political party, the Chief Executive orders the secretary of budget and management to release the pork.

As it happened in the days of Gloria Arroyo, lawmakers who were in the opposition hardly got a cent of the pork. The political system has become so rotten that lawmakers who support the President get all the help to be reelected by getting patronage using taxpayers’ money while politicians in the opposition are left to scrounge for their own campaign funds because they can be denied, as in fact, they are denied, what to other re-electionists is a right.

DAP is anomalous in many ways. First, the money is not allocated to any agency – least of all to the Office of the President – in the General Appropriations Act.

Second, and clearly worse, the release of funds in the DAP do not go through rigorous processing. The President releases it at will for a purpose he does not have to explain, least of all defend.

If the release were to be processed as in the case of pork, the amount disbursed from the DAP would probably be smaller than P150 billion so far. The name of the fund – DAP – fits its use to a T.

Disbursement acceleration is fully complied with. Nobody can question the amount. Nobody can question the use of the money. Since the President is the sole authority, the release of the fund is accelerated.

It may be too early to ask about the results of the “accelerated” disbursement. However, the taxpayers might be told where and how the money is spent. If judiciously used, the President takes the credit. If used otherwise, the President is cursed by his own constituents.

It is important to point out that there will be national elections in May 2016. This is a presidential derby. Huge amounts of money are needed to get voters’ patronage. The money can well come from the DAP.

Since this will likely be the case, the DAP is actually a monster bigger and more vicious than pork. The anomaly of using taxpayers’ money stays, this time with the President. This time without rigorous processing. Simply file a request . Money will come if the lawmaker is a supporter of the President.

We thought that the declaration of unconstitutionality of the pork by the Supreme Court will change the whole political landscape. Not really. The presidential candidate favored by the sitting president, and the congressional aspirants in his party may continue buying patronage or votes using taxpayers money. Not pork but DAP.

The President has awesome powers. Those powers can be used to abuse the use of taxpayers’ money by using the DAP.

A democratic market-driven system should have no room for the President to abuse what is not even discretion but usurpation of power of the purse that is not a function of the Executive Branch but solely and exclusively of the Legislative Branch as so stated in the Constitution.

We do not begrudge the President having discretionary funds. One such fund comes from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., a state owned and controlled corporation.

There is a marked difference between money given to the President by state owned firms and money allocated for a specific purpose in the General Appropriations Act.

Sadly, the DAP is money not specified in the GAA. They are leftovers or savings of other agencies.

Why should these agencies exert any effort when they know what they save can be arbitrarily spent by the President by forming a fund called DAP.

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Email:amadomacasaet@yahoo.com
– See more at: http://www.malaya.com.ph/business-news/opinion/dap-worse-pork#sthash.SyAV0U5m.dpuf


One Response. Have your say.

  1. Mac Flores, Jr. says:

    If I were a Professor who will evaluate and rate a reaction paper on the DAP issue prior to SC decision, I will give the student who wrote a reaction paper that resembles the article of Mr. Macasaet, a grade of flat 1.00 or A+.

    But the problem is – I am just a mere professor who reflects the views and opinion of the average ‘masa’ on the DAP.

    I am not the Supreme Court whose loyalty, appears to be with the appointing power or probably it may consider saving those who may’ve authored the DAP and recipients of DAP funds from punishment.

    If the foregoing will happen – Kawawa talaga ang Pilipinas at ang mga mamamayang nagbabayad ng buwis sa patuloy na kahirapan ng bansa at sa kawalan ng hustisya.

    In my opinion, ang PDAF at ang DAP ay pareho lang when it comes to the bottom line – misused of public funds.

    The difference lies in the SPELLING, the reason why PDAF is separate from DAP.

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