Palace: Noy takes full responsibility for DAP

By Delon Porcalla
The Philippine Star 

Noynoy.72MANILA, Philippines – President Aquino is taking full responsibility for the Disbursement Acceleration Program amid controversy sparked by the Supreme Court’s unfavorable ruling on the DAP and mounting calls for the resignation of some of his officials.

“In the final analysis, the President is the chief executive and the members of the Cabinet performed the role of alter ego, and whatever role that they perform is only an extension of the personality of the President himself,” Secretary Herminio Coloma of the Presidential Communications Operations Office said yesterday.

Asked if the buck stopped with the President, Coloma replied, “I believe that is a principle that is well-recognized.”

The Supreme Court (SC) declared last Tuesday that certain acts under DAP were unconstitutional. The ruling, details of which were made public the following day, triggered calls for the resignation of Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and the impeachment of Aquino.

Malacañang argued that funds released through DAP had benefited the economy and uplifted the lives of ordinary Filipinos.

Coloma emphasized there are procedures and rules to follow for determining the liability of officials who may have committed some infractions in their handling of funds released through DAP.

“Kaya meron namang mga mekanismo sa pagpapanagot sa mga lalabag o lumalabag diyan (That’s why there are mechanisms for ensuring that violators or potential violators of the law are made accountable),” he said.

Coloma said it’s the prerogative of the President to keep or let go of his officials.

“Regarding the appointment or maintaining the services of Cabinet members, that’s the responsibility of the President as chief executive and he’s performing his task based on his judgment,” he said.

Asked whether Aquino had sought explanation from Abad regarding the issue, Coloma only said “that’s the call of the President.”

While he has “not inquired into the extent of their discussion” on the DAP issue, Coloma said he believes the President and the budget chief had talked about the matter. He also said he was not aware if Abad had offered to resign.

On the possibility that other Cabinet officials may be made to account for DAP-related acts deemed unconstitutional by the high court, Coloma said the officials’ actions and decisions have always been governed by auditing rules.

Economic managers or those in the Development Budget Coordinating Council led by Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Coloma said, have had their individual and collective participation or inputs in the “design and implementation of the national budget.”

“There are already built-in mechanisms for accountability, and committed as we are to the good governance principles, these are operative day after day and have never been suspended at any time,” he pointed out.

“We affirm that we have exercised good faith and due diligence, and there are lawful processes for establishing accountability, and we are, we have been abiding by and complying with all of those processes and will continue to do so,” Coloma said.

Probe welcomed

He also said they welcomed the decision of the Office of the Ombudsman to initiate an investigation into possible irregularities in the utilization of DAP funds.

“We will comply with lawful and legal processes. That’s the duty of the ombudsman and we acknowledge that it is well within the purview of their mandate,” Coloma pointed out.

The Palace spokesman said the public should avoid speculations as to who is at fault because it is “best that we allow the lawful and legal processes to take place and we are prepared to abide by all of those processes.”

“We affirm that in implementing the DAP, the executive branch exercised good faith and due diligence, in accordance with existing laws and pertinent auditing rules and procedures,” Coloma said, reading a prepared statement.

“We believe we have been abiding by and complying with such lawful processes. We will review the decision further to gain a more comprehensive understanding of its ramifications and study the appropriate legal options,” he added.

He said that in its decision, the SC “affirmed the authority of the President as Chief Executive to implement DAP as a stimulus program to achieve economic growth and as an administrative system of prioritizing spending in the execution of the national budget.”

He also insisted there is no need for the government, much less President Aquino, to apologize to the public for the DAP fiasco.

“Saying sorry presupposes we’ve done something wrong. We did nothing wrong regarding this matter,” he said.

Fighting impeachment

Meanwhile, congressmen-allies of President Aquino are closing ranks to fight off a move to impeach him on the basis of the SC decision against DAP.

Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone told reporters yesterday that leaders of various regional groups and political parties under the pro-administration majority coalition in the House of Representatives have met and agreed to block any move to impeach Aquino.

“This impeachment plan will not take off. It will not even go past the committee on justice. There is no ground to impeach PNoy,” he said.

Under the Constitution, the impeachment process starts in the House of Representatives. The Senate serves as a court and tries an impeachable officer, against whom the House brings charges.

Militant party-list representatives have vowed to file an impeachment complaint against Aquino and graft charges against Abad.

The leaders of various groups who agreed to fight the impeachment move included Catanduanes Rep. Cesar Sarmiento, representing the Bicol bloc, Laguna Rep. Joaquin Chipeco of Southern Tagalog, Rep. Jerry Treñas of Iloilo City and Albee Benitez of Negros Occidental (Visayan bloc), Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. of the National Unity Party, Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez of the Mindanao bloc, Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe (party-list groups), Ilocos Sur Rep. Eric Singson (Northern Luzon), and the Metro Manila group of Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice and Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo.

Even allies of Vice President Jejomar Binay are against impeaching the President, according to Navotas Rep. Tobias Tiangco, who is secretary general of Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance.

The vice president’s daughter, Makati Rep. Abigail Binay, belongs to the House majority coalition and is a deputy majority leader.

Batocabe, who is a lawyer, said he and his colleagues do not believe that Aquino and Abad had committed a crime.

“There is no offense, because they allowed the use of the DAP funds in good faith. The Supreme Court ruling has prospective, not retroactive application,” he said.

Treñas said the 34-member Visayas bloc would go with the majority in the House in blocking an impeachment against the President.

“We have reached a consensus that we will resist any move to impeach President Aquino. The DAP was a lifesaver for many of our people, especially in areas devastated by calamities,” he said. He added DAP had sustained the country’s economic growth.

“Why would we impeach a President who has done so much for the country? Why would we even entertain the ranting of a disgruntled few, who have done nothing but to divide our nation?” With Jess Diaz

7 Responses. Have your say.

  1. Ernie Abalos says:

    Why should we impeach a President who is doing the right thing. Are we not happy that our country is moving to the positive direction? Kababayans, let’s give Noynoy a chance to make our beloved Philippines, a nation we can always be proud of. Let’s put politics aside. We have an honest Leader.

    • perry says:

      Hi Ernie,

      It’s because of P-Noy’s overblown PDAF and DAP (both unconstitutional) that we have the most corrupt government in the history of the Philippines.


      • Bobby Bagos says:

        Perry, don’t forget that we are still holding that coveted title, one of the most corrupt country in the world. A title that most of these worthless politicians doesn’t seem to care to loose. This disease will continue to infect our country unless a cure is found.

      • Lila S Lee says:

        Pinoy corrupt? News to me!!

        • perry says:

          Hi Lila,

          He may not be corrupt but he surrounded himself with corrupt people. That makes him corrupt.


        • Bobby Bagos says:

          I guarantee that if you look inside PNoy’s closet you will find all kind of skeletons in there. Perhaps he’s a bit more conscious about his job as our country’s chief executive because of the name he is attached to, and I will probably trust him more compared to the rest of those worthless politicians that are ruining our country.

  2. Eduardo bondoc says:

    No further discussion, Pdap, Dap will be no longer around. Move on ….

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