DAP - pork in another form

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Malacañang must be feeling beleaguered.

 

Press Secretary Edwin Lacierda went all the way from Malacañang to ABS-CBN to appear personally in Anthony Taberna and Gerry Baja’s radio program “Dos por Dos” to insist that DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Pogram) is not violative of the Constitution according to the opinion of former Senator Joker Arroyo.

Arroyo said it’s the first time that he heard such an animal called DAP.

Former National Treasurer Leonor Briones questioned the legality of this DAP, which was created in October 2011, two months before the start of the impeachment against Corona. “Is there an executive order? Is there a provision in the Constitution which legitimizes its creation?”

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago has also questioned the constitutionality of DAP and has asked the Commission on Audit to look into the DAP.

DAP surfaced as the new buzzword in political patronage DAP after Sen. Jinggoy Estrada exposed that Malacanang gave each of the 20 senators who voted to convict Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona on May 29, 2012, for culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust P50 million each.

Estrada said it was not a bribe. He called it “incentive.” The public saw it as political patronage, the common practice in political systems to award a special favor to persons whose cooperation the giver needs.

The evolution of Malacañang’s reactions (I will refrain from saying “lies”) on Estrada’s P50 million expose would have been amusing if it were not our hard- earned money.

In the beginning they outrightly denied it. But some senators confirmed the distribution of the post-Corona largesse. Sen. TG Guingona admitted he got lump sum. Former Sen. Panfilo Lacson, they discussed it in a caucus but he did not get his share.

Senate President Franklin Drilon, who initially denied it, later said it was the much-maligned PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) which were withheld during the four –month Senate impeachment.

The Department of Budget later admitted they released lump sums after the Corona impeachment . They gave out the list which showed that Drilon, who was the chairman of the Senate Finance committee got P100 million, Sen. Chiz Escudero P99 million, and then Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, P92 million.

DBM changed tune and said it was not PDAF. It’s DAP, Malacañang said. Lacierda said they money (P72 billion in 2011) came from the savings?

“Is savings illegal,” he challenged critics.

Mr. Secretary, that’s not issue. The question is the legality of the re-alignment of savings, without Congress approval.

As Briones said, “If the source is from different savings then we have to clarify constitutional provision. Who has power to realign? Isn’t it the legislature? After the budget is passed and the President realigns again, how do you call that? It is pork. Clearly, the source has to be clarified as to legitimacy and constitutional basis.”

Briones said DAP is clearly pork barrel. “By definition and tradition and international language, pork is given to legislator. Is it correct? No because it is pointed out that their function is to create laws not implement projects.” she said.

Lacierda said the question should be was the money under DAP used properly? Isn’t that the same issue with PDAF?