No one can stop Aquino from talking about DAP, says De Lima
MANILA, Philippines—Nobody can stop President Benigno Aquino from talking about the Disbursement Allocation Program (DAP), Justice Secretary Leila De Lima said Thursday.
“No one can gag the President who is constitutionally immune from any kind of suit during his incumbency,” De Lima said.
“This immunity is inherent in the office as a matter of necessity and cannot be violated directly or indirectly,” she added.
The remark was made after former Iloilo lawmaker Augusto Syjuco asked the Supreme Court to stop Aquino and his Cabinet officials from further discussing and defending in public the controversial DAP since the issue is already with the high tribunal.
De Lima branded as “ludicrous” the move of Syjuco, whose 21-page manifestation with motion for issuance of a gag order, said that Aquino’s speech on DAP last October 30 had prejudged the issue and tended to influence the court.
But De Lima said “any gag order specifically issued against the person and Office of the President indirectly violates this immunity by making him the subject of a suit.”