Graft raps vs Aquino, Abad over DAP dropped
The Ombudsman has dismissed graft charges against former President Benigno Aquino III and former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad over the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), or Malacañang’s “pork barrel.”
Instead, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on Tuesday said she would slap on Abad a minor criminal charge of “usurpation of legislative powers” for issuing a budget circular that unlawfully authorized the use of P72 billion in savings of certain government agencies to fund DAP projects.
The offense is penalized by six months and one day in jail.
Abad was also found administratively liable for “simple misconduct” and fined with the equivalent of his salary for three months, Morales said in a March 3 resolution issued on Tuesday.
The Supreme Court ruled in 2014 that DAP was unconstitutional and nullified the way the Aquino administration funneled government “savings” to other projects not funded by the national budget.
The graft complaint was filed by militant groups led by Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Carlos Zarate.
In throwing out the complaint, Morales said Aquino and Abad did not act with “bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.” She added that they were not liable for violating the antigraft law “because there [was] no undue injury [to the government] to speak of.”
Morales also found that Abad and Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos were not liable for any technical malversation.
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