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September 01, 2015, Tuesday
  • CBCP calls on Catholics not to support same-sex marriage. 7 hours ago |
  • 5 mountaineers drown in Nagsasa Creek in San Jose, Tarlac on Monday afternoon. 7 hours ago |
  • Phivolcs records 5 tremors in areas in Southern Mindanao. 7 hours ago |
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  • Sandiganbayan issues hold departure orders vs. Fmr. Agusan Del Sur Rep. Rodolfo Plaza & 7 others linked to pork barrel scam. 7 hours ago |
  • Binay’s camp claims De Lima is prioritizing political ambition over the resolution of PDAF and SAF 44 cases. 7 hours ago |
  • Binay’s camp calls on Justice Sec. Leila de Lima to resign. 8 hours ago |
  • DILG Sec. Mar Roxas says gov’t & INC leaders have been in contact with one another since the beginning of the rally at DOJ. 8 hours ago |
  • Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda says INC’s protest peacefully ended through goodwill and convergence of efforts. 8 hours ago |
  • Deputy Pres’l Spokesperson Abigail Valte says talks between gov’t & INC centered on clarification of issues & concerns. 8 hours ago |
  • Palace says there has been no deal made between gov’t and Iglesia ni Cristo. 8 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino led the National Heroes’ Day commemoration at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City. 12 hours ago |
  • Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda thanks the INC for ending its 5-day protest rally. 12 hours ago |
  • 9 killed in a collision between a multicab & a truck before dawn Monday in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat. 12 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino calls on people to unite & set aside personal interests during his message on National Heroes’ Day. 13 hours ago |
  • Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares says the right of expelled INC Minister Isaias Samson Jr. to file a complaint must be respected. 13 hours ago |
  • CIBAC Party-list Rep. Sherwin Tugna says DOJ must continue hearing the complaint of expelled INC Minister Isaias Samson Jr. 13 hours ago |
  • Fire kills 6 stay-in workers in a bakery in Taal, Batangas. 13 hours ago |
  • Clean-up of area around EDSA-Shaw Boulevard ongoing following 5 days of INC’s protest. 13 hours ago |
  • Traffic flow now moving along EDSA-Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong City. 13 hours ago |
  • Some INC members still trooped to DOJ early Monday morning & left only after INC’s announcement that the protest was over. 13 hours ago |
  • Commuters who were at EDSA-Mandaluyong area about 6 am Monday experienced monstrous traffic jam due to INC rally. 13 hours ago |
  • INC members rejoiced upon hearing their leaders’ announcement at about 8 am Monday that they are ending the protest. 13 hours ago |
  • LRTA says the remaining value stored in the magnetic cards can be transferred to beep cards. 13 hours ago |
  • LRT-2 removes from all its stations the gates for magnetic cards as it paves the way for beep cards. 13 hours ago |
  • Registration for 2016 polls continues in selected malls in the provinces. 13 hours ago |
  • Comelec reminds public to register for 2016 elections before deadline comes on October 31. 13 hours ago |
  • Rains forecast over Central Luzon, Bicol, Isabela, Quirino, Rizal and Quezon. 14 hours ago |
  • Possibility of the LPA near Baler, Aurora developing into a storm remote. 14 hours ago |
  • LPA located at sea 390 kms. east southeast of Baler, Aurora. 14 hours ago |
  • INC evangelist Bienvenido Santiago says INC is concluding its protest as it has reached an understanding with gov’t. 14 hours ago |
  • Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) ends its protest at EDSA-Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong City. 14 hours ago |
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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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