SC sets oral arguments on DAP

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court did not grant a temporary restraining order on the implementation of the executive’s controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

Instead, the court ordered the government to comment in 10 days on petitions questioning the program's constitutionality.

"DAP petitions will be treated separately from PDAF case," Te said in reference to the petitions on the pork barrel system or the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), oral arguments for which were set to be heard Tuesday, October 8.

In a briefing, Supreme Court spokesperson Theodore Te said the court will hear oral arguments on the DAP on October 22 at 2pm.

There are 3 petitions, now consolidated, questioning the legality of the government's spending acceleration program. 

The petitioners are Jose Malvar Villegas Jr, former Iloilo Rep Augusto Syjuco, and Manuelito Luna. Named respondents are Senate President Franklin Drilon, Budge Secretary Florencio Abad, and Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr.

The DAP came under fire after constitutionalists questioned its legality. The likes of Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, former Senator Joker Arroyo, constitutional framer Fr Joaquin Bernas Jr, and former Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno have said that the DAP was an "invention" of the executive branch and had no legal basis.

The Constitution provides that government budget must come from Congress; the President is empowered to realign savings from implemented programs.

The DAP attracted controversy after the budget department admitted allocating it to lawmakers – supposedly to address slow economic growth, but which had been interpreted by critics as a bribe.

Sen Jinggoy Estrada said in a privilege speech that the senators who voted to convict former Chief Justice Renato Corona got P50 million each after the impeachment trial.

Senate President Franklin Drilon admitted getting P100 million, while House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr said congressmen got P10 million each, after Corona’s impeachment.

The budget department said the amount came from the DAP but was "not a bribe." – Rappler.com