Supreme Court on DAP (photo from Philstar)

Supreme Court on DAP (photo from Philstar)

 

In a near-unanimous decision, the Supreme Court declared yesterday certain acts under the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) as unconstitutional.

 

The court resolution states that DAP acts violate Section 25(5), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution and the doctrine of separation of powers of the executive and legislative branches.  Under the Constitution, while the executive proposes an annual budget, no public monies can be allocated and spent unless covered by a general appropriations act enacted by Congress and passed into law by the President.

 

The high court declared the following acts and practices under the DAP as unconstitutional:

  • the withdrawal of the unobligated allotments from implementing agencies and the declaration of the withdrawn unobligated allotments and unreleased appropriations as savings prior to the end of the fiscal year and without complying with the statutory definition of savings contained in the General Appropriations Act;
  • the cross border transfers of the savings of the executive to augment the appropriations of other offices outside the executive; and
  • the funding of projects, activities, and programs that were not covered by any appropriation in the General Appropriations Act (GAA).

The DAP is considered by many as the “president’s pork barrel”.  Earlier, the Supreme Court also ruled that congressional pork barrel, or the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) as unconstitutional.

 

Senator Jinggoy Estrada aka Sexy (photo from Philstar)

Senator Jinggoy Estrada aka Sexy (photo from Philstar)

The DAP earlier hit the headlines when Senator Jinggoy Estrada bared that several senators received some P50 million to P100 million supposedly in exchange for voting to convict former Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Estrada had questioned the “persecution” he has received for allegedly diverting his pork barrel, the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), to bogus nongovernment organizations.

 

The President and his fighting slogan

The President and his fighting slogan

The Palace as well as House speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. sought to pooh-pooh the SC decision on the DAP by saying the President Aquino has since stopped the program.

 

from suertres.forumotion.com

photo from suertres.forumotion.com

Later, he declared that President Aquino could not be impeached over the DAP because he acted in “good faith”.

 Haven’t the good speaker heard that many roads to hell since time immemorial–from Caligula to Hitler to Ferdinand Marcoswere paved with good intentions?

 

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. (photo from Inquirer)

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. (photo from Inquirer)

Good faith, good intentions are never a valid defense against harmful deeds, against unconstitutional acts.

Such reasoning will not wash; if a series of unconstitutional acts were committed in the past, stopping does not cure them of their unconstitutional nature.

Qua unconstitutional acts, they constitute impeachable acts as culpable violations of the Constitution.

 Impeaching the President will first have to be done in the House of Representatives which should approve by a minimum 1/3 vote the articles of impeachment so they could be transmitted to the Senate.

Since a ruling coalition headed by the President’s Liberal Party controls the House, it remains to be seen if the House will impeach the president.

The onus is on House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr., currently vice chairman of the ruling Liberal Party.  Belmonte is a proven political butterfly having been a long-time member of the ruling Lakas-Kampi-CMD under then President Fidel Ramos in1992 up to 2009 under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo where he last held the position of senior vice president for external affairs.

Can Belmonte afford not to do anything as the DAP has already been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court?

Would he want to be seen as somebody condoning the wrong-doings of the President?  Wouldn’t his instincts tell him to save himself first instead of going down with the President?

The President faces a broad coalition of political enemies who would be interested in impeaching him.  This coalition includes Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, the Estradas, the Revillas, and the camp of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.  As it is, the Sandiganbayan simultaneously suspended Arroyo as representative of Pampanga.  Rumor is likewise rife that Erap Estrada will be unseated as mayor of Manila due to residence issues.

At the sub-national level, it includes the Jalosjos political clan of  Zamboanga which was practically shut out in the 2013 elections.

Vice President Jojo Binay need not do anything overt. If the president is impeached, he will succeed Aquino as president.

If ever, this will be the second time that a sitting president will be impeached.

 As always, I think we will make history.

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Comments
  1. alim labixa says:

    binay should step down with aquino as he was only declared the HOCUS PCOS vp winner in 2010 for 500 M pesos. it is time to kick these illegal occupants out of the palace. it is appalling to see allies to these two illegal occupants condoning to their anomalous activities.

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