Romualdez expresses confidence SC will decide on constitutionality of DAP

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Published : Thursday, June 05, 2014 00:00

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THE head of the House independent minority bloc expressed confidence yesterday that the Supreme Court (SC) will decide on the constitutionality of Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) without fear and favor.

Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, head of the bloc, made this statement following SC decision resetting for Tuesday next week its scheduled deliberation last Monday on the nine petitions questioning the constitutionality of the DAP.

“I am expecting them to decide without fear and favor and exercise their full independence in making a ruling on DAP which is similar to the pork barrel funds that Congress scrapped last year after the magistrates declared it unconstitutional,” said Romualdez as justices reportedly asked for more time to study the matter before voting on the matter.

Romualdez underscored the need for the SC to rule on DAP for sake of transparency and accountability, adding it should be made as soon as possible.

“Even if the DAP has been discontinued, the issue remains because there were disposition of public funds and so the justices decided to hear the case. Hopefully, they will come up with resolution so that it will not be swept under the rug, that this issue must be dealt with and accountability if any should be made,” Romualdez pointed out.

In a related development, Cavite Rep. Elpidio “Pidi” Barzaga Jr. has called on the SC to uphold the doctrine of separation of powers among the three branches of government by dismissing the nine petitions against DAP.

Barzaga cautioned the magistrates against ruling on the DAP cases because it would “intrude into areas reserved for the Executive and Legislative branches of government.”

“If the SC does not exercise restraint in dealing with such cases as required by the Constitution, our system of checks and balances will be in danger,” Barzaga pointed out.

The nine petitions were filed by former Iloilo Rep. Augusto Syjuco Jr., the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), the Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage), lawyers Jose Malvar Villegas Jr. and Manuelito Luna; the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa); the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP); the militant Bayan Muna, Kabataan and Gabriela party-list groups; and Christian sects led by Greco Belgica.

In almost all petitions, named respondents are President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, Senate President Franklin M. Drilon, Speaker  Feliciano R. Belmonte Jr., Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr., Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad, Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima, and National Treasurer Rosalia V. de Leon.

In most of the cases, complainants said DAP was unconstitutional for lack of a law for its creation, the funds for the program were taken from budgets of slow moving projects which have not yet been completed, and that the program is being used to augment new budget allocations not approved by Congress.Ryan Ponce Pacpaco

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