SC rejects gov’t move to postpone DAP hearing | Inquirer News

SC rejects gov’t move to postpone DAP hearing

The Supreme Court on Tuesday thumbed down a bid by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to postpone the resumption of the oral arguments on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) on Jan. 28.

The denial was announced on Wednesday as groups questioning the constitutionality of the so-called presidential pork issued a statement expressing fears of an “orchestrated move to unduly delay the DAP cases.”

“While admissions of officials and senators clearly indicate the illegal and immoral use of DAP funds, particularly related to the impeachment of former Chief Justice (Renato) Corona, yet the Office of the Solicitor General uses different alibis not only to buy time, but rather, to justify the malpractice,” said the petitioners’ statement on Wednesday.


The petitions included questions on the disbursement of over P1 billion in DAP funds to senators who voted to convict Corona in 2012 for failing to include his dollar bank accounts in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth.


The statement was signed by lawyers representing the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Philippine Constitution Association, Volunteers against Crime and Corruption, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, and former Iloilo Rep. Augusto Syjuco, among others.

The petitioners are asking the court to declare as unconstitutional the DAP, a facility created by the Palace purportedly to pump prime the economy.

Increases in the senators’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) during and after the trial were taken from the DAP, according to the Department of Budget and Management.

In a resolution issued on Tuesday night, the high court “partially granted” the joint motion for extension of time to comply and reschedule oral arguments filed by the OSG and retired Associate Justice

Vicente Mendoza, who was enlisted only last month to represent Congress, for more time to prepare for the oral arguments.

The DAP was originally included in the petition questioning the constitutionality of the PDAF. But the court later decided to hear the DAP issue separately.


The court on Nov. 19 last year reversed three previous rulings and declared the PDAF unconstitutional in the midst of widespread outrage at the congressional pork barrel system following revelations that funds meant for rural development were diverted to ghost projects and kickbacks.

Court spokesman Theodore Te said the magistrates maintained that the Jan. 28 oral arguments on the DAP would push through as scheduled “to receive the arguments of the OSG on behalf of the respondents other than the Congress of the Philippines.’’

Te said the high court ordered instead the lawyers of Congress to argue its case on Feb.18. The court also gave the government lawyers 15 days to submit documents.

The high tribunal held one hearing of the anti-DAP petitions in November last year and had scheduled its resumption on Dec. 9. The OSG requested postponement of the case for Jan. 28 and had wanted to delay the hearing further.


Gov’t groping for reason to justify DAP – petitioners


SC nixes bid to defer debate on legality of DAP


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