MANILA, Philippines- The Supreme Court (SC) declared on Tuesday the portions of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino as “unconstitutional” and could not be used to impeach him.
In a unanimous decision, SC spokesman Theodore Te said that the tribunal nullified the fund known as DAP composed mainly of annual savings from the different government agencies and departments. On the other hand, the critics claimed DAP as another version of a huge annual allocation allegedly misused by lawmakers in the country’s biggest corruption scandal.
“No, he cannot be impeached,” said Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. referring to PNoy in a text message when asked about the high court’s decision on DAP.
Belmonte said the SC decision is not retroactive and only explains that it only becomes effective from the time it was ruled.
Like Belmonte’s perspective, Marikina Rep.resentative Miro Quimbo also claimed that any impeachment filed on the basis of the SC decision has no basis in law or in jurisprudence.
“According to the Constitution, an offense may only be considered impeachable if the violation of the Constitution is culpable, “Quimbo said.
“It is culpable according to jurisprudence if the violation is so blatant and clear that it smacks of an intentional violation of clear and unequivocal laws. There is nothing clear as far as the rules on how savings are to be used or allocated under our tripartite system. On the contrary, DAP was simply an attempt by the administration to formalize the practice being done by previous administrations. Prior to the decision, it was in fact legal. These circumstances clearly will not make DAP of such a character as to make it a culpable violation of the Constitution,” he explained.
Moreover, Malacanang Palace justified Aquino’s use of the DAP, pointing out that it was distributed to fund projects that needed to be carried out immediately especially in education and in helping improve the lives of poor Filipinos in the countryside.
Kathryn A. Orbigozo