PRESIDENT BENIGNO S. AQUINO III himself personally approved all the 116 projects funded by the P144.38 billion in funds sourced from the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), Budget Secretary Florencio Abad told a senate committee on Thursday.
Abad told the Senate finance committee that the President had a personal hand in the approval of all DAP projects, and that the President gave the authority to consolidate savings under DAP.
The Supreme Court on July 1 declared certain parts of the DAP unconstitutional. In particular, the SC said it cannot allow the crossing over of funds to other branches of government, the withdrawal of funding for items already enrolled in the budget, and the transfer of these funds to items not in the budget.
“Ang bawat proyekto ng DAP ay binasbasan ng Pangulo,” Abad told the committee.
As for the SC ruling against cross border funding, Abad said there were only two instances when this occurred: for the eLibrary project of the House of Representatives, and the upgrade of the technical capability of the Commission on Audit.
Abad insisted that these incidents do not in anyway jeopardize the separation of powers, and that the funding of these projects were done “in the spirit of interdependence.”
Abad also said that these practices are not new, and that the Executive was shocked that the SC found it unconstitutional. For example, Abad said the Commission on Elections was the recipient of billions of pesos for the purchase of automated counting machines for the elections.
As well, Abad said they were shocked that the Supreme Court expected them to prove good faith on their part. Abad said this was worrisome for the bureaucracy because the presumption of regularity appears to have been discarded.