PNoy’s National Address: “DAP is Good” against Supreme Court

President Benigno Aquino III delivered a speech which was televised to the whole nation on Monday, July 14, 2014 to explain against the Supreme Court (SC) declaring that the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) as unconstitutional 13 days before the speech.

The president explained the previous state of the country back in June 2010, stating that corrumption in the budgeting system was endemic. He started with the 1.54 trillion pesos set aside to the government for the whole 2010 with only 100 billion or 6.5% remaining for the rest of the 6 months. PNoy also mentioned “anomalous” projects such as the dredging of Laguna Lake for which the government has to pay 18.7 billion pesos to, as he calls it, play with mud; and the GOCC which were operating at a loss but still gave away exorbitant bonuses to its officials and employees. The executive department allegedly cancelled anomalous projects, corrected the governance of GOCCs and ended all sleight of hand with the people’s money. He approved of the Zero-Based Budgeting- through it, only programs that would truly benefit citizens would be give funding.

He then proceeded to DAP.

“DAP is not a project—it is an efficient way of spending the budget; it follows the law and adheres to the mandate granted to the Executive Branch. We did this to properly allocate funds, and by so doing maximize the benefits that the people may receive,” he announced.

PNoy questions SC’s stand and logic on declaring the “savings” only by 31st of December saying that it could be declared in the middle of the year, so new projects can start earlier and won’t be delayed by the following year.

He further expressed his sentiments, “What are the implications of this? We have programs for the relocation of informal settlers to safer places. In the system the Supreme Court is ordering us to bring back, it might take two more rainy seasons before we are able to relocate our countrymen. Let us remember: about twenty typhoons come our way each year. Is it right to ask those living in hazardous areas to just leave everything to prayer?”

He also defended that DAP is actually legal contrary to the Supreme Court’s decision basing on Book VI, Chapter 5, Section 39 of the 1987 Administrative Code of the Philippines which states that “—Except as otherwise provided in the General Appropriations Act, any savings in the regular appropriations authorized in the General Appropriations Act for programs and projects of any department, office or agency, may, with the approval of the President, be used to cover a deficit in any other item of the regular appropriations…” This allegedly gives President Aquino the right to transfer the said “savings” to other projects he deems worthy. Moreover, unlike PDAF, which is funneled to fake NGOs; DAP does not steal the people’s money, rebutting the accusations on how DAP is just PDAF with a new name.

The possibility that it is a vendetta against the president went through him- that he is being dared to act like such against the SC. Yet, he explained, that any lawyer would be against the idea because the Supreme Court has voted against DAP by 13-0 with one abstain and pushing through this will get them through great danger.

With these, he directed his message to the Supreme Court, “We do not want two equal branches of government to go head to head, needing a third branch to step in to intervene. We find it difficult to understand your decision. You had done something similar in the past, and you tried to do it again; there are even those of the opinion that what you attempted to commit was far graver. Abiding by the principle of “presumption of regularity,” we assumed that you did the right thing; after all, you are the ones who should ostensibly have a better understanding of the law. And now, when we use the same mechanism—which, you yourselves have admitted, benefit our countrymen—why is it then that we are wrong?”

He concluded then that DAP is good and the intentions, processes were correct.

With critics on PNoy’s National Address, people concerned on the issue awaits his SONA the second following Monday, July 28, 2014.