Abad faces plunder complaint over DAP
Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad faces a plunder complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman for allegedly giving funds from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) to bribe senators for the conviction of Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Atty. Bonifacio Alentajan, former President of the Philippine Constitution Association, filed the complaint against Abad for the allegedly illegal disbursement of DAP on Thursday.
The complainant said Abad, an ally of President Benigno Aquino III, violated the plunder law, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code for usurpation of legislative power and authority, and Presidential Decree 1829 for obstruction of justice.
Alentajan said Abad committed plunder, graft, and usurpation of legislative powers because “he transferred funds duly appropriated to one government agency to another without legislative authority.”
Abad also allegedly “feloniously awarded and released P50 million each to the senators who voted for the impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona, or almost P1 billion.”
“Indubitably, DBM Secretary Florencio Abad misappropriated, converted, misused public funds without proper authority from Congress,” the complaint read.
The complainant also asked the Ombudsman to place Abad under preventive suspension to prevent him from using his position to thwart any investigation.
In a statement, the complainant said Abad allegedly bribed 19 senators with P50 million each sourced from DAP for them to convict Corona in May 2012.
But Abad said the funds released to senators were part of the regular disbursement of incentives under DAP, an economic stimulus package of the Department of Budget and Management.
Abad had said the DAP was implemented as early as 2011 to ramp up the economy after a slow economic growth due to sluggish spending.
Allegations that DAP funds were used to bribe the lawmakers during the impeachment trial first floated when Senator Jinggoy Estrada in a Sept. 2013 privilege speech said he was bribed P50 million to convict the chief justice. Corona was impeached on false declarations of wealth.
Some practices under DAP, a cross-border savings-impounding mechanism, were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in July 2014. It was criticized as President Benigno Aquino III’s pork barrel.
Those declared unconstitutional are the following: withdrawing unobligated allotments of agencies with low levels of obligations as of June 20, 2012, both for continuing and current allotments; 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 (GAA); cross-border transfers of the savings of the Executive to augment the appropriations of other offices outside the Executive; funding of projects, activities and programs that were not covered by any appropriation in the GAA; and 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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