Palace admits lawmakers may be unaware of DAP but…
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Wednesday said it was possible that some lawmakers did not know they were allocating funds from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) but added that it was a matter the Department of Budget and Management and Senator Franklin Drilon should answer.
“It’s possible that they were not aware that it was a disbursement acceleration fund,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said.
However, he pointed out that while Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero said he was unaware, “Secretary Frank Drilon already mentioned how he applied, utilized his Disbursement Acceleration Program fund.”
Asked about Drilon’s letter to the senators in 2011 mentioning the availability of additional funds, Lacierda said, “I suppose you will have to ask the Department of Budget and Management as to how it was presented to Senator Drilon.”
Nevertheless, Lacierda said it was clear that the funds allocated by the senators were from the DAP, which was partly declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
He also reiterated that the Department of Justice and the National Bureau of Investigation are already looking into DAP funds that may have been channelled to non-government organizations linked to Janet Lim-Napoles.
Lacierda said that while they can account for the 91 percent of funds utilized by the executive branch and its agencies, they are still looking into the nine percent allocated by lawmakers.
Asked why the executive in the first place let legislators endorse projects for DAP, he said it was because at that time the pork barrel scam was not yet discovered and that it was their way of consulting the people’s representatives.
“That was a purpose that was meant to ask also elected officials as well because, you know, more than the appointive officials, more than those who are appointed by the President, they have their mandates,” he said.
“However, there is now a big question mark. How did you use those funds?” Lacierda added.