22 July 2014

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Declaring DAP as Unconstitutional

When the Supreme Court declared the Disbursement Acceleration Program as unconstitutional in a unanimous decision, the Aquino administration refused to obey the ruling as it will just delay government projects and that they did not violate the law in implementing it. Thus President Aquino filed a motion for reconsideration and will appeal the verdict before the High Tribunal.

This is just one of the many political controversies that the Malacañang are facing and it will become a test of how the Aquino administration will get along and fare as the 2016 election is looming and fast approaching. And I cannot put aside that what’s happening right now has nothing to do with politics and that someone will do anything in order to discredit and make anomalies so their opponents will suffer. Yet it doesn’t mean too that the declaration of DAP by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional has no legal basis at all. Citing Article 6, Section 25 (5) of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, which authorizes the President, the Senate President, the Speaker, the Chief Justice, and the heads of Constitutional Commissions to transfer funds within their respective offices.

So, “cross-border transfers of savings of the executive department to offices outside the executive department” and “withdrawal of unobligated allotments from the implementing agencies and the declaration of the withdrawn unobligated allotments and unreleased appropriations as savings prior to the end of the fiscal year and without complying with the statutory definition of savings contained in the General Appropriations Act” must be cleared and approved with Congress, which has the power of the purse.

That alone would suffice everything, making the Disbursement Acceleration Program as illegal and unconstitutional even if the Aquino administration are acting in good faith in trying to fast track the government’s priority projects. In fact, even the Supreme Court justices themselves recognized DAP’s positive results which was cited from the World Bank study for its benefits to the economy. But in my opinion, any particular method by which the goal was achieved does not validate the process nor does it excuse the fact that it was inherently obtained in a wrong manner because there’s always a legal and constitutional way of asking a supplemental budget without usurping the power of the Congress.

And with the continued defiance of President Aquino in the Supreme Court’s ruling in declaring DAP as unconstitutional, I think, he somehow forget his oath of office, that the President is duty bound to preserve and defend the Constitution.
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