MANILA (Mabuhay) –The impeachment complaint filed against President Benigno Aquino III is “unwarranted” because he did not violate the law in implementing the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), Malacañang said Monday.
“We are asserting that the actions that were taken in connection with the DAP were done within the parameters of the law. That is our position,” Communications Secretary Hermino Coloma Jr. said.
In a text message, Coloma described the impeachment raps as “premature,” since the executive branch is still appealing the Supreme Court decision declaring certain acts under the DAP as unconstitutional.
Earlier in the day, progressive party-list lawmakers endorsed the first valid impeachment complaint against Aquino at the House of Representatives filed by 27 complainants.
Aquino is being accused of betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution for supposedly using funds under the DAP as “presidential pork barrel.”
Let House decide
During a separate press briefing on Monday, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda maintained that Aquino did not use the DAP to undermine congressional powers.
“We have a difference of opinion in that. The SC has already mentioned the positive effects of this [DAP]. This is our understanding on how we can use savings, to make sure that savings are used effectively,” Lacierda said.
Asked if the absence of pork barrel funds allocated by the executive to lawmakers will affect the actions of the House on the impeachment complaint, Lacierda said, “I think the Congress people have their own discernment on the allegations in the complaint, so we will let them use their own discernment to judge the complaint.”
The Palace official added that it will let the House, which is dominated by administration allies, to determine if the President needs to be impeached.
“We will defer to the House. They have House rules to deal with the impeachment complaint. As you know, the role of the House in impeachment complaints is to be the fiscal. They will assess, and based on their rules, they will look into these allegations,” Lacierda said.
Earlier this month, the SC unanimously declared certain acts under the government’s DAP as unconstitutional, including the declaration of unprogrammed and unobligated funds as savings, the transfer of funds from one government branch to another, and the funding of projects not stated in the national budget.
Last Friday, the executive branch asked the high court to reconsider its DAP ruling, maintaining government officials acted in good faith in implementing the spending mechanism. (MNS)