So much has been said about Disbursement Acceleration Program or DAP. Clearly while it is the Malacañang is pushing for the national budget.
“While its constitutional conferment is not expressed, the Administrative Code has given the President specific authority, when in his judgment the public interest requires and upon due notice to the head of office concerned, to suspend or otherwise stop further expenditure of funds allotted for any agency.”
“Of recent times however, this presidential prerogative has been misused and abused, and has emasculated Congress’ authority to check the President’s discretionary power to spend public funds. In effect, the President seems to have a vast and unbridled control over the national budget.”
These were the words of then Senator Benigno S. Aquino III in the explanatory note of his Senate Bill 3121 entitled “The Budget Impoundment Control Act” in 2008 that sought to limit the discretionary powers of the President to realign and defer releases of funds. The bill sought to prohibit the President from “usurping Congress’ power of the purse.”
According to Ninez Cacho-Olivares of The Daily Tribune. President Aquino an his clan certainly personally benefited from the DAP and faily illegall and here’s how:
The Department of Agrarian Reform recently confirmed that P5.4 billion of the controversial DAP had been released to the DAR which was used as landowners’ compensation, including those for the relatives of Noynoy for their Hacienda Luisita land.
DAR received P5.4 billion for landowners compensation and another P1.29 billion for agrarian reform communities project 2, with the agency admitting that the DAP funds were used to compensate over 4,000 landowners, including those of the hacienda. Most of the landowners are the Cojuangcos and Aquinos.
DAR paid the Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) a total of P471.50 million broken down as follows: P304.03 million as the actual cost of land and an additional P167.47 million as interest. The report stated that the amount is 11.6 percent of the P4.052 billion paid to more than 4,000 landowners.
It turns out that the amount paid to Hacienda Luisita was equivalent to P100,000 per hectare, double the value initially prescribed by the April 24, 2012 Supreme Court (SC) decision on the hacienda.
Surely, given this admissions, it proves that not only did Noynoy and his clan benefit immensely from the DAP, but also that he and his relatives even paid themselves more than the amount of compensation that had been decreed by the then Corona court for the landowners.
I’m sure Presidet Aquino, Mar Roxas, and Budget Secretary Butch Abad is starting to shake in their boots. After all, his predecessor, Arroyo, also couldn’t be impeached during her term for the same reason that she had complete control of Congress after generously giving out people’s money to the lawmakers. But look at her now – devoid of freedom and pride.
Aquino cannot be impeached for as long as he has Congress on his leash, nor criminally charged because of his presidential immunity. But he can be sent to jail, just like Arroyo and former President Joseph Estrada, after his term in 2016.
This scary thought can change the political landscape in the remaining two years of Aquino’s term. Either he tries to find a very strong contender within his political party with the likes of Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, or drop his party mates and support the most likely to win, at this time Vice President Jojo Binay, who is after all a longtime family friend, with a firm commitment that Aquino would not be prosecuted after his departure from Malacanang.
He has flip-flopped with his stand vis-à-vis the PDAF and the DAP, I see no reason why he can’t do it with his political affiliations. After all, such is the way with Philippine politics, of which the Aquino-Cojuangco clan long been a pillar.