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SAN BEDA COLLEGE ALABANG SCHOOL OF LAW LEGRES/LEGWRIT 2013 2014 DELOS REYES, RACHEL A.

A. SANGANGBAYAN, BIANCA PATRICIA S. 2013400047 2013400083 OCTOBER 16, 2013

LEGALITY OF DAP(DISBURSEMENT ACCELERATION PROGRAM) PAPER # _____ One of the controversial issues that the Philippine Government is facing today is the legality of the Disbursement Acceleration Program or DAP. Articles about the issue are being printed in the newspapers daily and news updates are also known via television. On the 20th of October this year, the Supreme Court will set the case for oral arguments. The Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) is a stimulus package under the Aquino Administration designed to fast-track public spending and push economic growth. This covers high-impact budgetary programs and projects which will be augmented out of the savings generated during the year and additional revenue sources. Funds used for programs and projects identified through DAP were sourced from savings generated by the government, the realignment of which is subject to the approval of the President; as well as the Unprogrammed Fund that can be tapped when government has windfall revenue collections.1

http://www.gov.ph/2013/10/05/constitutional-and-legal-bases-for-the-disbursement-acceleration-program-dap/

According to the October 9, 2013 issue of The Philippine Star, Philippine Constitution Association filed a petition questioning the legality of DAP. It argues that the Charter prohibits the transfer of funds from one branch of the government to another in the absence of a law where it is funded by the Department of Budget and Management, managed by Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, from unspecified or tainted sources not approved by Congress. It also added that DAP is not included in the General Appropriations Act of 2011, 2012, and 2013.2 As a defense, President Benigno Aquino III conceded that DAP is imperfect and is being corrected. There are many criticisms but there are no suggestions as to what government should do about the said issue. He said that they would like to be able to fund the said items without violating the temporary restraining order of the Supreme Court on PDAF.3 The main issue here is whether or not the Disbursement Acceleration Program is constitutional or unconstitutional. It is the DBM led by Budget Secretary Abad who allegedly use the funds and divert the savings somewhere else. Article VI Section 25(5) of the Constitution states that:
No law shall be passed authorizing any transfer of appropriations; however, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and the heads of Constitutional Commissions may, by law, be authorized to augment any item in the

2 3

The Philippine Star (October 9, 2013) The Philippine Star (October 11, 2013)

general appropriations law for their respective offices from savings in other items of their respective appropriations.

The

implementation

of

Disbursement

Acceleration

Program

is

unconstitutional. The Department of Budget and Management and the Office of the President have no authority to appropriate funds from unspecified or polluted sources and to disburse/ fund programs, activities or projects not in the General Appropriations Act, and determined by DBM with the conscious or unconscious cooperation of some member of Congress.4 On the other hand, with regards to criminal liability, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago believes that malversation of funds may be filed against Budget Secretary Abad for using the P172-Billion DAP Budget because according to the principle of presidential immunity, it is the secretary who has to assume criminal liability because one cannot sue the president criminally until his term is over.

There are many more officials who defend the issue of DAP. The issue is not about where or how the DAP is being allocated. What is being argued here is the process of how DAP is being used is constitutional or not. Before they could make use of the funds from DAP, the Congress must first pass a law regarding the use of DAP.

Ibid (October 9, 2013)

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