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SC declares parts of DAP unconstitutional

/ 01:17 PM July 01, 2014

MANILA, Philippines—The Supreme Court, with a vote of 13-1-0, declared as unconstitutional President Benigno Aquino III’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

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Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo De Castro inhibited from the case.

In its ruling penned by Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin, the high court declared as unconstitutional the National Budget Circular 541 and other related issuances related to DAP or Aquino’s pork barrel.

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With the Budget Circular 541, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is allowed to withdraw “unobligated allotments of agencies with low levels of obligations as of June 20, 2012, both for continuing and current allotments.”

The circular also allows “withdrawn allotments” to be used to “augment existing programs and projects of any agency [emphasis by DBM] and to fund priority programs and projects not considered in the 2012 budget but expected to be started or implemented during the current year,” Abad wrote department heads, including budget and accounting officers.

Also declared in violation of Section 25 (5) Article VI of the 1987 Constitution are the following acts;

1.   The withdrawal of unobligated allotments from the implementing agencies, and the declaration of the withdrawn unobligated allotments and unreleased appropriations as savings prior to the end of the fiscal year and without complying with the statutory definition of savings contained in the General Appropriations Acts;

2.   The cross-border transfers of the savings of the Executive to augment the appropriations of other offices outside the Executive;

3.   The funding of projects, activities and programs that were not covered by any appropriation in the GAA;

4.   The use of unprogrammed funds despite the absence of a certification by the National Treasurer that the revenue collections exceeded the revenue targets for non-compliance with the conditions provided in the relevant GAA.

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That provision states that “no law shall be passed authorizing any transfer of appropriations; however, the President, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and the heads of Constitutional Commissions may, by law, be authorized to augment any item in the general appropriations law for their respective offices from savings in other items of their respective appropriations.”

While the dispositive portion of the decisions states that the petitions against DAP is partially granted, a court insider explained that the decision in effect declares DAP illegal.

“Actually, 4 parts declared unconstitutional which effectively covers the entire DAP. Word ‘partially grant’ was used because other prayers of petitioners like disclosure of documents were not granted because they were moot,” the insider said.

 

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TAGS: Constitution, DAP, Disbursement Acceleration Program, Government, Politics, Supreme Court
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