Aquino, Cabinet ready for any suit after 2016, says spokeswoman | Inquirer News

Aquino, Cabinet ready for any suit after 2016, says spokeswoman

By: - Reporter / @NikkoDizonINQ
/ 07:01 PM July 04, 2014


MANILA, Philippines—Malacañang said Friday it was ready for the “possibility” that criminal cases would be filed against President Aquino and members of his Cabinet as soon as they finish their terms in 2016 over the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

Critics of the Aquino administration have demanded accountability for the DAP that the Supreme Court has ruled unconstitutional.


“It’s a possibility, but I will tell you that it does not hamper how we do our work for the remaining 728 days,” said deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte.


Valte was responding to a journalist who asked at a press briefing if the administration was ready for its critics to run after them, the same way it has ordered the investigations into the alleged misdeeds of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and members of her administration.

“That is something that we’ve all considered once we all accepted the job to be in government,” Valte added.

Valte also said the Inquirer report that over P300 billion in overall savings had been generated by the DAP “has to be clarified by the DBM” (Department of Budget and Management).

“They will be in a better position to give you information on that but I would like to point out, at this juncture, that appropriations or allotments… mean it is an authority to spend. It’s not cash. So appropriations are not directly correlated to cash. It is not like money in the bank. When we say appropriation or allotment, it is an authority to spend. It’s not cold hard cash,” Valte said.

Valte said the Palace has yet to decide on whether it would file a motion for the Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling on the DAP, which was crafted by Budget Secretary Florencio ‘‘Butch’’ Abad as a stimulus package in 2011 to fast-track public spending and push economic growth.

Valte said the Palace was still studying the court’s decision and the justices’ separate opinions.


The DAP was practically unknown until Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, then already implicated in the pork barrel scam, revealed in a privilege speech that funds from the DAP had been used allegedly as a reward for legislators who supported the impeachment of former Chief Justice Renato Corona in 2012.

Supreme Court Justice Arturo Brion, in a separate concurring opinion, noted that Abad may have known that the DAP was unconstitutional given that the budget secretary had been a member of Congress, which holds the power of the purse, and at one point became the chair of the House appropriations committee.

Still, three days after the Supreme Court decision was released and critics of the administration have been calling for accountability, the Palace continued to defend Abad, a Liberal Party stalwart.

Asked if Abad, who has yet to be heard from, has become a liability to the President, Valte said: “Not at this point.”

“If you look at the track record of Secretary Abad, and the reforms that he’s initiated, I believe you can all go through the body of his work and you can see what steps he has taken to make sure that the budget, the people’s money is spent wisely,” Valte said.

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“You’ve seen all these initiatives under the DBM, under his leadership, as well as that of the President. So we go back and let’s review the body of work,” Valte said.

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