Abad can’t hide behind ‘good faith’ on DAP, says UNA
MANILA, Philippines–The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) of Vice President Jejomar Binay on Thursday said Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, the brains behind the defunct Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), must not hide behind “good faith” as an excuse to escape liability.
Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco, UNA interim president, said Abad and other officials who authored the DAP, a stimulus program launched in 2011, should face investigation after the Supreme Court upheld its decision finding it unconstitutional.
In a statement, Tiangco said good faith was no excuse in doing an illegal act.
“The good faith defense that Abad uses is not really in good faith. The intent and act are patently illegal and therefore there was bad faith in the very start. In other words, Abad should be held accountable for his unconstitutional act,” he said.
On Tuesday, the high court affirmed its earlier decision striking down the DAP, which was intended to pump-prime the economy, for certain unconstitutional practices involving the use of government savings and budget realignments.
But it clarified that the ruling did not mean the invalidation of the 116 DAP projects discussed in its earlier decision in July, and that funding authorities retained the right under the Constitution to augment projects identified in the budget law.
The DAP only came to public attention after Sen. Jinggoy Estrada slammed the P50 million in additional pork barrel funds given by the administration as “incentive” to senators who voted to convict Chief Justice Renato Corona in his impeachment trial in 2013. Abad later said the funding came from the DAP.
Tiangco said it was clear that the DAP had been “created with the intention to bribe lawmakers to secure the removal of Corona.”
He said Abad should also be held accountable “for allowing a large-scale syndicate to thrive in the executive branch” by allowing the release of DAP funds for the ghost projects of detained businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged pork barrel scam mastermind.
“Abad is equally guilty, whether he acted as budget secretary, a conduit or an agent,” Tiangco said.
The Supreme Court, in its Tuesday ruling, clarified that the authors—and not the proponents and implementers—of the DAP could be held liable in case of legal action.
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