video from RTVM
PRESIDENT BENIGNO S. AQUINO III defended his controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and accused those charged in the pork barrel scam of trying to divert the public’s attention from the scandal.
In a rare 12-minute primetime nationwide broadcast, the President said his government will pursue the prosecution of those identified in the pork barrel scam, and said the public will not be distracted by attempts to divert the issue.
The President added that it was in fact his administration that was responsible for curbing abuses of lump sum and pork barrel funds.
“Hindi kami nagnakaw, hindi kami magnanakaw,” the President said. “Kami ang mga umuusig sa mga nagnanakaw.”
(We did not steal, and we are not thieves. We are the ones prosecuting the thieves.)
“Pagnanakaw ang issue dito,” President Aquino said. “Hindi ako nagnakaw. Pero ang mga diumano’y nagnakaw ang siyang nagpapasimuno ng kalituhan.”
(The issue is stealing. I did not steal. But those who are accused of stealing are the ones responsible for sowing confusion.)
“Tayo ang ninakawan, tayo ang niloko, tapos tayo pa ngayon ang pinagpapaliwanag,” the President added. “Tayo ang nagbawas ng mekanismo na maaring gamitin para abusuhin ang kapangyarihan, tapos tayo pa ang pinararatangan na pork barrel king.”
(We have been robbed, we have been fooled, yet we are now being asked to explain. We are the ones responsible for removing the mechanisms that could be abused, yet we are now the ones being tagged as the pork barrel king.)
The President was apparently referring to accusations by several legislators charged in the pork barrel scam of disbursing his own pork barrel to select legislators who voted in favor of the impeachment of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona through a new mechanism called the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
The DAP, supposedly raised through savings by national government agencies, was created by the Executive and made available to some legislators. The mechanism has been criticized as unconstitutional because it did not pass through Congress.
The President however stood pat on the DAP, and insisted that it was allowed by the Constitution and other laws.
“Pangalan lang ang DAP ng isang proseso ng paggastos ng perang natipid at iba pang nalikom na kita ng gobyerno,” the President said.
(The DAP is just the name of a mechanism for spending savings and additional revenues of the government.)
President Aquino said the DAP was in fact the result of his administration’s efforts to curb corruption and streamline the government. “Saan galing ang DAP? Mila sa pagpigil ng kuntsabahan sa kontrata, sa tong-pats, overpricing, at kickback; sa maayos na pag gugol ng budget, at matinong koleksyon ng buwis,” he said.
(Where did the DAP come from? From curbing the corruption in contracts, overpricing, and kickbacks, and from the wise use of the budget and the efficient collection of taxes.)
The President pointed out that only 9 percent of the DAP went to legislators. Other beneficiaries of the DAP include critical government programs such as Project Noah, or the Nationwide Operational Assessment Assessment of Hazards, TESDA’s Training for Work, and the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.
Aquino also defended his Social Fund (PSF) saying that it has been the source of funding assistance to family members of AFP and PNP personnel killed or wounded in the Zamboanga siege and survivors of calamities.
The President said critics have complained that the PSF and other lump sum funds could be abused by the Executive. However the President said this is not enough reason for him to remove the PSF.
“Kahit walang paratang ng pagnanakaw, ang mungkahi ng ilan ay tanggalin na lang,” he said. “Maganda kung ganuon ka simple. Pero paano kung magkaroon ng sakuna? Bwenas na kung may session sa Batasan. Mahina ang apat na buwan para maaprubahan ang pondo.”
(Even if there is no accusation of theft, some want the PSF removed. I wish it was that simple. What if there is a tragedy? We would be lucky if there is a session in Congress. Four months would not be enough for them to approve the funds.)
The President said those who want to divert attention from the pork barrel scam are warned that government will prosecute them to the full extent of the law.
“Ito ang masasabi ko sa kanila. Kung sa tingin ninyo titigil ako sa pag uusig, kung sa tingin ninyo malilihis ninyo ang atensyon ng publiko, kung sa tingin ninyo makakatakas kayo sa pagnanakaw, nagkakamali kayo ng tantsa sa akin at sa taumbayan,” he said.
(This is what I say to you. If you think you can stop me from prosecuting you, if you think you can divert the attention of the public, if you think you can get away with theft, then you are underestimating me and the public.)