Syjuco asks SC to declare DAP unconstitutional
Camille Diola (The Philippine Star) - October 7, 2013 - 4:38pm

MANILA, Philippines - Former Iloilo Rep. August Syjuco, Jr. filed a petition before the Supreme Court on Monday seeking to declare the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) unconstitutional.

Syjuco asked the high tribunal to order the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to halt the implementation of the program, purportedly given to lawmakers as lump sum amounts for selected projects.

Through the petition, the former solon also sought criminal and administrative cases against DBM Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad and Senate President Franklin Drilon "for their illegal and unconstitutional acts."

"For DAP, the alleged savings generated by the executive department was not a surplus of budget," Syjuco said in the petition.

He explained that the highly discretionary DAP cannot be called "savings" as DBM claims, since it was sourced from remaining funds from completed projects or line budgets.

"But if the money was never used in the first place, like in the case of DAP funds, then it cannot be classified as savings. Hence, it is on this equal reason that DAP creation and implementation is unconstitutional and illegal," Syjuco's petition reads.

A total amount of P137 billion was released as of 2013 from DAP, approved by President Benigno Aquino III in 2011 backed by the head of state's Constitutional power to augment savings, as Abad had said.

Drilon accused

Syjuco, who headed the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, also recently filed plunder complaints against Drilon before the Office of the Ombudsman for allegedly pocketing over P60 million in the construction of Iloilo Hall of Justice and the Iloilo Airport.

Related: Another P60-M plunder charge filed vs Drilon

He said Drilon, who chaired the Senate Finance Committee in 2011, was the "promoter" of over P1 billion of DAP disbursements to some lawmakers allegedly as a reward for the ouster of Chief Justice Renato Corona.

"For the record, I reiterate that Mr. Drilon released to himself P100 million, or 9.9% of this fund. Mr. Drilon should forthwith be directed to return that full amount ... as well as be held criminally accountable for the full amount of P1,010,500 that he disbursed," Syjuco claimed in the petition.

Drilon, meanwhile, denied the accusations of Syjuco as a "pathetic and desperate move to malign" him, he told Philstar.com's Twitter account.

"Syjuco won't stop from filing nuisance cases till he fulfills his obligation to his bosses financing him to implicate my name in corruption," Drilon hit back.

The first petition questioning the legality of DAP was filed by former senatorial hopeful and Manila Councilor Greco Belgica.

AUGUST SYJUCO CHIEF JUSTICE RENATO CORONA DAP DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT DISBURSEMENT ACCELERATION PROGRAM DRILON FORMER ILOILO REP ILOILO HALL OF JUSTICE MANILA COUNCILOR GRECO BELGICA SYJUCO
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