What went before: Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) declared unconstitutional | Inquirer News
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What went before: Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) declared unconstitutional

04:32 AM June 22, 2018

On July 1, 2014, the Supreme Court struck down then President Benigno Aquino III’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) as unconstitutional.

According to the high court, the DAP violated constitutional provisions that bar cross-border transfer of savings to agencies outside the executive branch and to projects outside the approved national budget.

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A stimulus program supposedly designed to accelerate spending on projects and boost economic growth, the DAP was conceptualized in September 2011 and was approved by Aquino the following month.

The DAP was questioned in the Supreme Court after Sen. Jinggoy Estrada disclosed in a privilege speech on Sept. 25, 2013, that he and other senators had each been given P50 million in additional pork barrel allotment as “incentive” for voting for the expulsion of Chief Justice Renato Corona.

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Budget Secretary Florencio Abad later confirmed the release of P1.107 billion to 20 senators, but pointed out that the funds came not from the Priority Development Assistance Fund but from the DAP.

On Feb. 3, 2015, the Supreme Court, voting 13-0, largely upheld its original ruling striking down the DAP. The high court revised only one part of its ruling: That the augmentation of funds for specific projects may be allowed as long as they have appropriation cover under the General Appropriations Act.

Days before Aquino stepped down from office, the Supreme Court dismissed a petition to compel the Ombudsman to investigate and, if the evidence so warranted, to file impeachment cases against Aquino and members of his Cabinet in connection with the DAP.

In July 2016, activist groups pressed malversation, usurpation of powers and graft charges against Aquino and Abad in the Office of the Ombudsman.

In March 2017, the Office of the Ombudsman also cleared Aquino of graft charges related to the use of the DAP, but found probable cause against Abad for usurpation of legislative powers.

In November 2017, then Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II directed the National Bureau of Investigation to look into allegation of misuse of DAP funds against Aquino, as requested by former Manila Councilor Greco Belgica. —INQUIRER RESEARCH

SOURCES: INQUIRER ARCHIVES

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