MANILA (Mabuhay) – A former budget chief believes Budget Secretary Butch Abad cannot claim ignorance of the law when he proposed the disbursement acceleration program (DAP) now deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
Former budget chief Benjamin Diokno said he will not buy as an excuse that Malacañang acted in good faith when it withdrew the budgets of national government agencies in the middle of the fiscal year and then used it for projects not included in the General Appropriations Act.
“Hindi pwedeng sa ganitong kalakaran ang ‘Excuse me. In good faith, naman ako.’ We are talking about P150 billion. So hindi tamang rason yun. Marami nang desisyon ang Supreme Court, that the end does not justify the means,” he said.
He said Abad, as a former congressman and lawyer, should know that there was something amiss about the DAP.
“Hinde pwedeng sabihin na di alam dahil si Abad congressman nang matagal, naging chairman pa ng House appropriations committee atsaka secretary of agrarian reform nung time ni President Cory Aquino at education nung time ni Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. He is also a lawyer. He was asked during the oral argument by a justice. Talagang pinakita na hindi pwedeng hindi niya alam ang ginawa niya,” he said.
Diokno said he is incensed by some of the false claims being made about the DAP including the claim that it led to the investment grade rating of the country. He said the investment grade rating came about because overseas Filipino workers were sending home remittances.
The former budget chief said the DAP has become a major source of embarrassment for the President and his anti-corruption campaign.
“Malaking kahihiyan itong ginawa ni Secretary Abad kay Pangulo. In fact, it is a major embarassment duon sa tinatawag na daang matuwid program ni Presidente…Dapat magpaliwanag siya,” he said. (MNS)