News Flash

August 04, 2015, Tuesday
  • Sen. Trillanes cites security risk as primary reason why his witnesses in bribery charge vs. 2 CA justices won’t be able to testify. 2 hours ago |
  • Sen. Trillanes says his witnesses in bribery charge vs. CA justices won’t be able to appear before the CA hearing. 2 hours ago |
  • Sen. Trillanes says he will appear before CA hearing on Aug. 14 to explain his bribery charge vs. 2 CA justices. 2 hours ago |
  • Trillanes ordered to appear at CA hearing on Aug. 14 at 2 pm & explain why he shouldn’t be cited for contempt for bribery allegations. 2 hours ago |
  • CA tells Sen. Trillanes to explain his allegation that 2 CA justices got P 25M each in bribes to stop Makati Mayor Binay’s suspension. 2 hours ago |
  • DMCI tells Supreme Court that Torre de Manila is outside the boundary of Rizal Park. 2 hours ago |
  • DMCI tells Supreme Court that it followed all ordinances, rules & guidelines in building Torre de Manila. 2 hours ago |
  • Comelec Commissioner Christian Lim says the poll body can adjust its calendar of activities & extend campaign period when there is election. 2 hours ago |
  • LTFRB sues 2 fixers who had long been loitering in the agency’s vicinity & offering fake franchise to applicants. 2 hours ago |
  • Sen. Chiz Escudero says Comelec should castigate candidates abusing election rules instead of extending the campaign period. 2 hours ago |
  • Sen. Jinggoy Estrada has been experiencing light-headedness and acid reflux. 2 hours ago |
  • Sen. Jinggoy Estrada will undergo medical check up at Cardinal Santos Medical Center from 6 pm Tuesday until Thursday. 2 hours ago |
  • Sandiganbayan grants Sen. Jinggoy Estrada’s request for a medical check up at Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan City. 2 hours ago |
  • PAGASA says frequent heavy rains in the afternoon in Metro Manila are just due to thunderstorms. 2 hours ago |
  • PAGASA says there is no weather disturbance currently affecting Metro Manila. 2 hours ago |
  • Typhoon ‘Soudelor’ is forecast to move west northwest at 20 kph. 2 hours ago |
  • Typhoon ‘Soudelor’ was located 1,770 kilometers east of Luzon at 2 pm on Tuesday. 2 hours ago |
  • Typhoon ‘Soudelor’ outside PAR has gustiness of up to 245 kph. 2 hours ago |
  • Typhoon ‘Soudelor’ outside PAR carries maximum sustained winds of up to 215 kph near the center. 2 hours ago |
  • Signal Number 3 may be raised over Cagayan when Typhoon ‘Soudelor’ enters PAR on Wednesday morning. 2 hours ago |
  • Batanes may experience Signal Number 4 when Typhoon ‘Soudelor’ (with local name ‘Hanna’) enters PAR on Wednesday morning. 3 hours ago |
  • Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos & Camsur Rep. Leni Robredo attend Liberal Party meeting in San Juan today with Mar Roxas. 3 hours ago |
  • Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos & Camsur Rep. Leni Robredo say no one has asked them to run as Roxas’ vice pres’l bet. 3 hours ago |
  • Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos says she may run for Congress but she has not made up her mind. 3 hours ago |
  • Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos says she is not eyeing the vice presidency. 3 hours ago |
  • Camsur Rep. Leni Robredo says she hopes Sen. Grace Poe will agree to become Roxas’ runningmate. 3 hours ago |
  • Camsur Rep. Leni Robredo says if ever she will seek a higher post, it may be the senate. 3 hours ago |
  • Camsur Rep. Leni Robredo says she has no plans of running for vice president. 3 hours ago |
  • Pampanga to experience power interruptions on Thursday. 8 hours ago |
  • Sen. Jinggoy Estrada says Binay’s ‘True State of the Nation’ or ‘TSONA’ reflects the real performance of the Aquino gov’t. 8 hours ago |
  • De Lima says DOJ has no evidence that will pin down House members to the alleged BBL payoff. 8 hours ago |
  • House Sgt. At Arms Radovan says their CCTVs store only 5 days worth of videos before these are automatically erased by the system. 8 hours ago |
  • House Sgt. At Arms Nicasio Radovan says CCTVs in Batasan Complex have no recording of alleged BBL payoff last May 25, 26 & 27. 8 hours ago |
  • Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano says Binay should release his ‘true SALN’ instead of delivering a counter-SONA. 8 hours ago |
  • DOTC Sec. Abaya hits back at Binay & says the VP does not understand the root cause of the MRT problem. 8 hours ago |

The DAP: An unconstitutional means to uphold the Constitution

By Atty. Harry Roque Jr. | Oct. 10, 2013 at 12:01am
I add my opinion to the plethora of opinions concluding that the Disbursement Acceleration Program (referred to also as Drilon, Abad and P Noy) is unconstitutional. It is clear from the language of the Constitution that while the President, among others, can re-align savings from his office, he can only do so by spending it for his office and for a line item provided in the appropriation law. This much can be gleaned from Section 25(5) of Article VI of the Constitution: “the President, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives,  x x x may, by law, be authorized to augment any item in the general appropriations law for their respective offices from savings in other items of their respective appropriations.”

Note that the language of the law clearly states that any augmentation must be a) for an item in the general appropriations law; and b) must be “for their offices”. Consequently, any augmentation from savings from the OP can only be spent by the OP and cannot be given to lawmakers. Furthermore, it must be to augment particular expenses in the appropriations law and not for any and all other purposes.

This interpretation has been upheld by the Supreme Court. In the oft-cited case of Demetria vs. Alba, the Supreme Court ruled: “The leeway granted ( to the President et al) was thus limited. The purpose and conditions for which funds may be transferred were specified, i.e. transfer may be allowed for the purpose of augmenting an item and such transfer may be made only if there are savings from another item in the appropriation of the government branch or constitutional body.”

Can this be a ground for impeachment of the President? Certainly, as the DAP is clearly a culpable violation of the Constitution. This despite the denials from the President’s bad mouths, Edwin Lacierda and Abigail Valte, both of whom happen to be lawyers. I can only surmise that the two bad mouths slept through the lectures of Father Joaquin Bernas when Demetria was discussed in their Constitutional Law 1 class.

But will the President be impeached because of DAP? Here, we have history to turn to. As a veteran of three impeachment complaints against Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, I have acquired the wisdom to know that as a political process, the fate of impeachment depends on the largesse of the President. In fact, every member of Congress rejoices with the filing of an impeachment complaint because with it comes lots and lots of taxpayers money to buy the votes of the Tongressmen and Senatongs. So while the law clearly states that the President may be removed because of DAP, the reality is that expenditures such as the DAP and the PDAF, including the Malampaya fund, etc., will  almost surely be used to insulate the President from any threat of removal.

Having said this, is PNoy off the hook? Certainly not. Writing as an ordinary citizen, I have to say that PNoy’s violation of the constitution elicits further anger than those committed by PGMA. This is because of his promise that he will take the daang matuwid. When he promised this, I thought, as did the millions that gave him a tremendous popular mandate, that in addition to being less corrupt; the President, unlike PGMA, will rebuild damaged institutions.

But instead of doing this, we find that PNoy, through the DAP, was no different from his predecessor: he will commit culpable violations of the Constitution to meet certain ends. True, I supported the ouster of former chief Justice Renato Corona as in fact, I stood as one of the private prosecutors against him. But his removal from office, in my mind, was necessary to restore the integrity and independence of the judicial branch of government. Certainly, it was a cause that called for strengthening the binding nature of the Constitution as only an independent Court can assert the supremacy of the of the Constitution. This cause could not have warranted a breach of the very Constitution that the Corona impeachment sought to uphold as supreme.

It is for this reason that I now hold the President in much contempt. To PNoy, I say: How could you? Where is the daang matuwid?
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