“Not only did President Aquino violate the constitution in having implemented DAP, he is now betraying public trust in loudly and publicly rejecting the ruling on DAP.” – ACT Teachers’ Party Rep. Antonio Tinio
By MARYA SALAMAT
MANILA – Malacañang’s recent pronouncements assailing the Supreme Court for not considering that President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, Budget Sec. Florencio “Butch” Abad and Cabinet officals acted in “good faith” in implementing the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), and its recent announcement that Budget Sec. Abad resigned but the President did not accept it were criticized by progressive groups. They called the announcement about the Budget secretary’s resignation as “Abad script, and Abad drama.” Calls for Aquino’s accountability over the unconstitutional DAP are mounting, especially as critics decry what they call as the Aquino administration’s continuing attempts at coverup.
Since the Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional the salient points of one of his biggest pork funds, the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), Aquino’s no-remorse stance has angered groups seeking to abolish the entire pork barrel system and its resulting corruption-laden political patronage.
The week following SC ruling against DAP, protest actions were held urging Aquino to admit culpability over the DAP mess, to divulge the projects funded by the DAP and to begin investigations on the DAP. Youth groups filed last Tuesday July 8 plunder raps against Budget Secretary Florencio ‘Butch’ Abad at the Office of the Ombudsman.
Speaking this Friday, July 11, on the announced resignation of Abad, Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said “This is a clear admission that the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) is wrong and that Pres. Aquino’s non-acceptance of Abad’s resignation is his way to protect himself.”
When Aquino rejected Abad’s resignation, he reportedly said: “To accept his resignation is to assign to him a wrong. And I can’t accept the notion that doing right by our people is a wrong.”
Act Rep. Tinio said “President Aquino is openly defying the law of the land by rejecting Sec. Abad’s resignation on the grounds that he can’t accept that the acts committed by Abad under the DAP is wrong. As Chief Executive, Pres. Aquino swore an oath to preserve and defend the Constitution and execute the laws of the land. This includes respect for and compliance with jurisprudence as embodied in Supreme Court ruling,” said ACT Teachers’ Rep. Antonio Tinio in another statement.
Not only did President Aquino violate the constitution in having implemented DAP, he is now betraying public trust in “loudly and publicly rejecting the ruling on DAP,” Tinio said.
The labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) said they are revolted by Aquino’s rejection of Abad’s resignation. From such “a drama that springs from a bad script,” the labor center warned that it shows the Aquino government is not interested in pursuing accountability over the DAP.
“If Aquino won’t hold Abad accountable for the DAP, then it is even more impossible for Aquino to allow himself to be held accountable for the said program,” said Elmer ‘Bong’ Labog, chairman of KMU.
“It is also a clear message to the Filipino public that BS Aquino will continue to protect his ‘kamag-anak, kakampi, kabarilan’ despite and in spite of the people’s clamor,” said Garry Martinez, chairperson of Migrante International, a global alliance of overseas Filipinos. Migrante International also expressed deep wariness over the Abad-Aquino “drama” which, they say, is “just another calibrated hypocritical move by the Palace for damage-control.”
Like the youth and workers’ groups, Migrante noted that “BS Aquino and his cohorts have been consistent in showing their unrepentance and complete disregard of the Supreme Court decision on DAP.”
Martinez also slammed Malacañang’s attempt to divert attention and accountability for the DAP by pointing fingers at its most vocal critics. He cited the latest intrigue being sowed against Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, which insinuated that the anti-pork barrel lawmaker benefited from DAP.
“Rep. Colmenares has shown proof that he withdrew his project when he suspected that the funds allotted by the DBM (for it) could have come from DAP. As far as OFWs are concerned, that is the end of the story. We see what Malacañang is trying to do — it wants to deflect attention from BS Aquino and Abad by maligning the credibility of anti-pork barrel leaders,” Martinez said. He added that Filipinos around the world know who among Philippine government leaders today is the Pork Barrel King.
Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares has squarely faced yesterday Malacanang’s attempt to deflect accountability for its unconstitutional usurpation of Congress’ power and its refusal to release specifics and documents of 116 projects under the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) amounting to at least P150 Billion ($3.44 B).
“The fact that a project endorsed by Bayan Muna was, without our knowledge, funded by DBM using DAP, does not mean we have no right to criticize and we lost credibility to assail DAP for being blatantly unconstitutional, illegal, anti-poor and anti-people,” said the progressive solon.
Rep. Colmenares said only Malacañang knew of DAP when he nominated projects for hospitals, health kits, farm to market roads and school buildings to the DBM, which approved it, and directly funded these projects under an item then called “continuing appropriations.” When Bayan Muna suspected the funding may have come from something like DAP, Colmenares said, he withdrew in writing his endorsement for a P10-million ($227 thousand) project. He released to the public the copy of the letter he sent to National Dairy Authority, which became the basis for it to return the said P10 million DAP to the national treasury.
“If they expect that I will desist from assailing DAP and the pork barrel system because of their attack, they’re wrong,” Colmenares said, vowing he will continue to advocate against the pork barrel and he will endorse the impeachment complaint against Pres. Aquino.
Migrante, various youth groups and workers’ group KMU said they are preparing to launch more protest actions, as they call on the public to support and join them. Martinez said Filipinos around the world are preparing for protests in time for BS Aquino’s fourth SONA. “We want BS Aquino out. We do not want him to stay until 2016. He can either resign, be impeached or ousted.” The migrants’ group calls for establishing “a transition council that will hold BS Aquino, Abad and their ilk accountable for the unabashed plunder of public funds.”