Miriam: DAP illegal, 'more or less' presidential 'pork'
Louis Bacani (The Philippine Star) - October 1, 2013 - 4:20pm

MANILA, Philippines - Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago said Tuesday the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) is illegal and is "nothing more or less" than the pork barrel of President Benigno Aquino III.

The DAP, which was the the source of the additional multi-million funds given to senators after the Corona impeachment trial, is illegal since it was not contained in the 2011 or 2012 budgets, according to Santiago.

She said the DAP also violates the Constitutional provision that "No law shall be passed authorizing any transfer of appropriations; however, the President, . . . may, by law, be authorized to augment any item in the general appropriations law for their respective offices from savings in other items of their respective appropriations."

The STAR reported that the DAP was funded by consolidated savings from the unused appropriations of agencies.

Read: Hunt on for hidden ‘pork’

But Santiago said the DAP funds are illegal since they appear to be taken from alleged slow-moving government projects that did not generate savings.

She said the Constitution only allows fund transfers if there are savings from completed government projects and not those merely deferred.

"The first issue is that the DAP was not taken from savings. The second issue is that the DAP was not used to augment items in the budget that were previously authorized by Congress. The alleged savings were used to augment new budget items not previously authorized by Congress," Santiago said in a statement Tuesday.

Santiago said the budget department should have sought the approval of Congress, which exercises the power of the purse under the Constitution.

In a televised press briefing on Tuesday, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte insisted that the DAP has legal basis and the funds were released for implementation of government programs.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released a list of the senators who received various amounts from the DAP and the government agencies that were also supported by the now criticized funds.

But Santiago claimed this variance of the beneficiaries indicates that the DAP is "nothing more or less than the huge pork barrel of the President, spent without the participation of the Congress."

Related story: Senators got P1.1 B on top of ‘pork’ funds

On Monday, Santiago also urged the Commission on Audit to probe the DAP releases as they also constituted bribery and violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution.

DBM Secretary Butch Abad and Malacañang have denied that the additional funds were form of bribes.

Read: Miriam: 'Pork' released right after Corona trial constitutes bribery

BUT SANTIAGO DAP DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT DEPUTY PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABIGAIL VALTE FUNDS ON MONDAY PORK PRESIDENT BENIGNO AQUINO SANTIAGO SECRETARY BUTCH ABAD AND MALACA
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