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Aquino sets nationwide roadshow for DAP

President Benigno Aquino III INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—With the legality of his Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) now under question, President Aquino is set to embark on a nationwide political roadshow to explain his stand on the spending controversy to the people, Malacañang said on Wednesday.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma called it a “dialogue with the people,” adding that the President hoped to “build common ground upon which we can all act collectively for the future of our country and for the greater national interest.”

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The planned campaign comes as critics asked the Supreme Court to gag the President, whom they accused of trying to influence the impending decision of the high tribunal on the constitutionality of a disbursement program that was not authorized in the legislated national budget.

Former Iloilo Rep. Augusto Syjuco Jr. filed Wednesday a manifestation and motion for the issuance of an order restraining the president and his cabinet representatives from speaking about DAP because it violated the sub judice rule.

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This rule restricts comments and disclosures pertaining to pending judicial proceedings.

In a 21-page petition on this motion for the issuance of a gag order, Syjuco said President Aquino violated the sub judice rule when he made a nationwide address last Oct. 30 defending the DAP as legal and constitutional—issues that were now before the high court.

“(President Aquino’s speech on the DAP) stirred public sentiments and opinions on the constitutionality of the DAP. To ask the sentiment and approval of the public on the constitutionality of the DAP by presenting the alleged benefits derived from it, makes his speech in utter violation of the sub judice rule,” he said.

Syjuco also said Aquino’s speech also “constituted a very contumacious act of impressing a hint to the Supreme Court.”

“In effect, he was subtly exerting pressure on the Supreme Court,” he said, saying the President’s speech was intended not only for the public but for the high court as well.

Syjuco is one of eight petitioners against the DAP. The critics pointed out that the DAP was the source of additional P50-100 million given to senators who voted to convict Chief Justice Renato Corona last year.

In a separation petition, Syjuco also asked the high court to  subpoena Budget Secretary Florencio Abad to appear and testify at the Nov. 11 high court oral arguments on the DAP and to furnish the petitioners with relevant records of the budget department.

President Aquino, in his televised address, had defended the DAP as a facility to fuel the economy, saying he and his cabinet “were not thieves.” –With TJ Burgonio

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TAGS: Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), Politics, Pork barrel, roadshow
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