Abad indicted for usurpation of powers over DAP
Former Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad was indicted for usurpation of legislative powers over the implementation of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
In a statement on Tuesday, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales found probable cause to charge Abad with violation of Article 239 (Usurpation of Legislative Powers) of the Revised Penal Code.
Abad was indicted for his alleged unlawful issuance of National Budget Circular (NBC) No. 541 to implement the DAP, a savings impounding mechanism involving P72 billion.
The budget circular authorizes the withdrawal of unobligated allotments of agencies with low levels of obligations as of 30 June 2012.
The Ombudsman also found Abad guilty of simple misconduct and ordered him suspended for three months.
Due to his separation from the service, the penalty is convertible into a fine equivalent to his salary for three months.
His indictment stemmed from the complaint filed by Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate, Renato Reyes, Benjamin Valbuena, Dante LA Jimenez, Mae Paner, Antonio Flores, Gloria Arellano and Bonifacio Carmona Jr.
Morales said Abad by issuing the budget circular unlawfully encroached on the powers of Congress by effectively modifying the provisions on savings of the 2012 General Appropriations Act (GAA).
“NBC No. 541 provided the principal bases for the withdrawal of unobligated allotments which were declared as savings and used to fund PAPs (programs, activities and projects) under the DAP. The issuance of this circular is an act of usurpation. This is contrary to law,” Morales said.
In a statement, Abad said he respected the Ombudsman’s decision and he will file a motion for reconsideration.
He denied using the DAP funds for personal gain, adding that while he was indicted for usurpation, he was cleared of graft and technical malversation charges.
“I respect the Ombudsman’s decision, and welcome the fact that her office has dropped the graft, corruption, and technical malversation charges against me,” Abad said.
“The Ombudsman’s decision also affirms the truth that I did not personally benefit from implementing the DAP. I never used public funds for my own gain, and I never will,” he added.
Abad said while the Supreme Court declared some parts of the DAP unconstitutional, the high court acknowledged that the savings impounding mechanism helped boost the economy.
“It is as I have always said: although the DAP was ruled as partly unconstitutional, the Supreme Court itself acknowledged that the program helped boost the country’s economy when it was most needed,” Abad said.
“I am consulting my legal advisers on the appropriate course of action following this development. As always, I look forward to the quick and fair resolution of this matter,” he added.
Meanwhile, former president Benigno Aquino III was not indicted by the Ombudsman. It was during Aquino’s term that Abad implemented the DAP, said to be Aquino’s pork barrel fund.
The DAP was a system of realigning savings to stimulate the economy.
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