KAKAMPI MO ANG BATAS: PNoy, Abad could be liable for illegal DAP—SC PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 05 July 2014 11:29

BY Atty. BATAS MAURICIO

 

LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… Woe to the sinful nation, a people whose guilt is great, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption!...” (Isaiah 1:4, the Holy Bible).

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PNOY & ABAD COULD BE LIABLE FOR ILLEGAL DAP-SC:Have you already read the entirety of the majority opinion of the Supreme Court in the case which declared unconstitutional President Aquino’s “disbursement acceleration program” or DAP”?

I am sure you wouldn’t have failed to notice the high court’s clarification that, although DAP in itself is in accordance with the 1987 Constitution and was envisioned to really pump-prime the economy, the manner by which Aquino and his budget secretary came up with the money which they used as DAP, as well as their having given some P1 billion plus to senators after the impeachment of Renato Corona, were grossly violative of the Constitution.

What is more, also standing out in that decision ably written by Associate Justice Lucas P. Bersamin is the further clarification that while the projects, activities, and programs (PAPs) undertaken through the DAP could no longer be undone on the theory that although unconstitutional Aquino’s DAP nevertheless produced legal effects, he and all others who conceived and implemented the DAP could be criminally liable, unless “good faith” is shown by them.

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USING FUNDS FOR OTHER DEPARTMENTS IS ILLEGAL: Insofar as the holding of the Supreme Court that the manner by which Aquino and Abad came up with the money which they used as DAP was unconstitutional, the decision goes something like this: under Section 25 (5), Art. 26 of the 1987 (Cory Aquino) Constitution, no law shall be passed authorizing the transfer of government funds already allocated as part of the national yearly budget.

However, the President, the Chief Justice, the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the heads of Constitutional Commissions, can be authorized by law to augment any item in the law instituting the national budget (called the General Appropriations Act, or GAA), from savings, for the benefit of their own respective departments.

In the case of Aquino’s DAP, the tribunal conceded that, for 2011 and 2012, the GAAs for those periods contained separate provisions which allowed President Aquino to transfer funds. But then, the court clarified, those provisions for such transfer of funds were unconstitutional because they authorized the President to transfer funds, not only within the executive department, but for the two other departments—legislative and judiciary— as well, as in fact some P1 billion was given to some senators after the Corona impeachment.

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CAN PNOY & ABAD CLAIM GOOD FAITH RE DAP? On the matter of the criminal, civil, and administrative liability of the creators, proponents, and implementors of the unconstitutional DAP—Aquino and Abad, principally—the Supreme Court made it clear that they could be held answerable for these liabilities, unless Aquino and Abad can show “good faith” in enacting the DAP.

Here is what the court said, which is self-explanatory: “… the doctrine of operative fact… cannot  apply to the authors, proponents and implementors of the DAP, unless there are concrete findings of good faith in their favor by the proper tribunals determining their criminal, civil, administrative and other liabilities…”

The question that confronts the Filipino nation now is this: can Aquino and Abad claim “good faith” in establishing the DAP? My view is that, they could not have been in good faith in establishing and implementing the DAP, especially in giving some P1.1 billion to some senators after the Corona impeachment, considering that they were (or ought to have been) fully aware that the 1987 Constitution prohibits such giving of money, coming from the executive department, to the legislative.

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