Senator Pimentel: DAP probe can be expanded
While the Office of the Ombudsman has decided to subject two top budget officials to a preliminary investigation for the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), it could still expand its inquiry later on depending on the evidence submitted, according to Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III.
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and Undersecretary Mario Relampagos would be investigated for technical malversation and administrative charges for the allegedly irregular release of nearly P400 million in funds through the DAP.
“What I want to say is that it’s not written in stone that this is the end. It’s a preliminary investigation to start the ball rolling,” Pimentel told reporters in a phone patch interview.
If the sworn statements and other evidence submitted show there are more people involved, the probe could be expanded to include them, he said.
Abad had said that he signed the endorsements for the projects funded through the DAP, and these were then approved by the President.
“If that’s the defense of the secretary, that somebody else approved this, [that] it was clearly explained to somebody else, then with that information, the Ombudsman can also adjust the investigation,” said Pimentel.
He also said the role of the President in the program to pool government savings and allocate these for high-impact projects could still be looked into. The chief executive is immune from suit during his term, but not from investigation, he said.
The President can be charged after his term.
The DAP was used to pool savings from various agencies, which were then reallocated to other projects outside the budget. It was intended to stimulate the economy.
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