What Went Before: The discovery of DAP | Inquirer News

What Went Before: The discovery of DAP

/ 02:17 AM July 02, 2014

MANILA, Philippines–In September last year, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, in a privilege speech entitled “The Untold PDAF Story that the People Should Know,” said that congressmen were “rewarded, bribed” and given “additionals” by the Aquino administration to get its way in Congress.

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Estrada said that after the conviction in May 2012 of Chief Justice Renato Corona, 20 senators received at least P50 million in additional lump-sum allocations under their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), or the congressional pork barrel.

Estrada suggested that the bonuses were an “incentive” for the senators’ vote ousting Corona for dishonesty in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth.

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Budget Secretary Florencio Abad later confirmed the release of P1.107 billion to 20 senators but pointed out that the funds came from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

The DAP is a mechanism designed by the Aquino administration in 2011 ostensibly to accelerate spending on projects and boost the country’s economic growth. The program was conceptualized in September 2011 and was approved by President Aquino the following month upon the recommendation of the Development Budget Coordination Committee and the Cabinet clusters. Little was publicly known of the facility, until Estrada’s disclosure.

According to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the DAP was created in view of the prevailing underspending in government disbursements for the first eight months of 2011.

9 petitions vs DAP

Critics said the DAP was unconstitutional and another form of pork barrel. At least nine petitions against DAP were filed in the Supreme Court last year.

In October last year, following the Estrada blast, President Aquino made a rare public address on prime time TV in defense of the controversial DAP.

In the 12-minute speech that sought to set the record straight on the controversial economic stimulus program, Aquino assailed certain politicians for allegedly seeking to muddle the issue and bedevil his administration.

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No evidence vs President

 

In November of that year, the high court opened the oral arguments on the legality of the DAP. During the five-hour hearing, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio looked for evidence that the President had authorized Abad to create the DAP.

Carpio said he had seen no official document that showed Aquino had realigned government savings for the DAP and authorized the DBM to do it.

In January, during the resumption of the hearing, the Aquino administration urged the high court to dismiss the petitions seeking to declare the DAP unconstitutional.

Moot, academic

Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza said that the anti-DAP petitions had become moot because the Palace stopped its use since mid-2013.

For his part, Abad told the court that the DAP “had already served fully its purpose and that was why the economic managers recommended its termination to the President.”

In 2011, a total of P83.53 billion was released to provide additional funds for programs and projects, such as healthcare, public works, housing and resettlement, and agriculture. The following year, P58.7 billion was released to augment tourism road infrastructure, school infrastructure, rehabilitation and extension of light rail systems, and rural electrification.

Of the total P142.23 billion for the DAP in 2011 and 2012, the DBM said 9 percent or P12.8 billion went to programs and projects identified by legislators.

In 2013, some P15 billion was approved for the hiring of policemen, additional funds for the modernization of the Philippine National Police, the redevelopment of Roxas Boulevard, and funding for the Typhoon Pablo rehabilitation projects for Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental, the  DBM said.–Inquirer Research

Sources: Inquirer Archives, dbm.gov.ph

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TAGS: Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), Pork barrel, Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF)
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