Aquino dare smacks of political arrogance—militants
MANILA, Philippines—President Benigno Aquino III’s dare to detractors impeach him over the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) smacks of “political arrogance”, a militant group said.
Aquino’s pronouncements were reminiscent of the “political arrogance displayed by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who in several occasion challenged her critics to impeach her for election fraud, plunder and corruption and violation of human rights arising from extrajudicial killings,” said Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) in a statement.
In separate interviews, Senators Joker Arroyo, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, former budget secretary Benjamin Diokno and constitutionalist Fr. Joaquin Bernas claimed that the use of DAP was an impeachable offense.
“Let them pursue (the impeachment complaint) if they think they are right. But I just read the Constitution. (I have) authority to use savings and put it to other use as long as it is in the budget,” Aquino said in a press conference Wednesday.
But Pamalakaya said the boast may mean something else.
“Impeach me. This was the tag line of Mrs. Arroyo during her reign because she was then sure that the pork-rewarded congressmen will not offer her at the altar of impeachment trial,” said Pamalakaya vice chairperson Salvador France.
“The same tagline is now used by Aquino to prove his critics that he has the House of Representatives on his side with the P 450-billion audit free pork barrel of the President,” he added.
The group said even if the senators do not pursue the impeachment case, there are still “many takers.”
“The impeachment case against Aquino will come at the right time, and there are many takers who want to be counted in the grand battle against the pork barrel king,” France said.
Meanwhile, labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) said the President deserved the tag “pork barrel king” for maintaining the pork barrel system amid his slogan “daang matuwid (straight path).”
KMU, in a statement, said Aquino only announced the abolition of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) because he was threatened by the Million People March last August 26.
“Aquino still has the biggest pork barrel,” KMU said, referring to the president’s lump sum and special purpose funds supposedly worth more than P1 trillion.
The DAP first made headlines after it was revealed as the source of funds released to senators after the impeachment of then Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, in a privilege speech, implied that P50 million was released to senators as an incentive for the ouster.
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