President Benigno S. Aquino III and Budget Secretary Butch Abad are set to face new charges over the controversial DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Program), which involves billions of pesos that were allegedly misused. The case will immediately be filed by the Makabayan Bloc in the upcoming 17th Congress, which will open on July 25.
According to Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate during the Kapehan sa Dabaw at SM City this Monday, June 13, their lawyers are now preparing the new charges vs PNoy, who will officially end his term on June 30. The lawmaker added that their camp is still identifying other presidential appointees and department heads who received the DAP funds.
Back in October 2015, Rep. Zarate has already revealed the plans of suing President Noynoy Aquino and Abad on the implementation of DAP, which the Supreme Court (SC) in February 2015 declared as unconstitutional. That time, the lawmaker appealed to Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales not to exempt PNoy from the investigation.
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Also in October 2015, Abad faced the Senate for the hearing of the budget for the Department of Budget and Management (DBM). After the hearing, he told reporters that he signed the endorsements but it was President Aquino who approved them. Nevertheless, he emphasized that PNoy should not be held responsible for the DAP.
Abad and DBM Undersecretary Mario Relampagos faced the preliminary investigation.by the Ombudsman over the alleged irregularities in the release of the P390 million from the P31.9-billion DAP funds. However, the Ombudsman’s Field Investigation Office (FIO) decided not to include President Noynoy in the investigation.
The case was filed by former TESDA chief and Iloilo Rep. Augusto Syjuco Jr., who later filed another case vs PNoy over the alleged misuse of the P235-million Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) for the National Livelihood and Development Corporation (NLDC), an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture.
Meanwhile, the Makabayan Bloc (which also includes Antonio Tinio and France Castro of ACT Teachers, Ariel Casilao of Anakpawis, Sara Jane Elago of Kabataan, and Emmi De Jesus and Arlene Brosas of Gabriela Women’s Party) is also looking into the possibilities of direct responsibility of PNoy on the Mamasapano clash in January 2015, where 44 SAF members were killed.