On the Disbursement Acceleration Program

Moving to impeach the President or asking that Budget Secretary Abad resign does nothing to resolve the issue. Besides, the fact that members of the Senate, despite knowing the DAP (and it’s system of procedures) has not received their collective and formal seal of approval, received amounts from it and utilized these anyway via disbursement channels are equally liable.

I mentioned in an article in this blog that DAP (or PDAF) per se isn’t in my view unconstitutional. The Executive Branch needs some funds or access to funds in order to realize it’s set objectives. I’m not in agreement to the proposal that the Executive (or the Legislative) run absolutely without funds. It’s simply unrealistic. Even company CEOs are provided some funds.

My premise was that an ethical person will not steal. He or she is tempted, yes, that’s a reality but in the end the ethical person says Thank you for the vision of personal riches but no thanks. For many it will be quite a struggle to arrive at that decision but that’s the point – the person who corrupts is already corrupt to begin with (whether or not the person’s aware of that in her(him)self). In other words, money isn’t necessarily the root of all evil. In fact, what’s most shockingly evil in the PDAF Scam isn’t the intricacy of the scam or the amount of public money involved but that in all those years nobody among the liable officials sounded the alarm.

Moreover, at this time, only less than a hundred Filipinos fully understand DAP. And this number is mostly found in the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial.

To the rest of the 90M Filipinos, the masses, DAP could be anything which means it is open to be manipulated and twisted to serve objectives of interest groups.

There’s the move to impeach the President. The clamor for Secretary Abad’s resignation.

Amidst these, the call for the President to decide on the Bangsamoro Law “now”. In case Filipinos are missing it, this call goes against Constitutional process, for the same reason that the SC declared the processes in the DAP unconstitutional. The Bangsamoro Law, as it is drafted, has to undergo Congressional hearing and deliberation.

From corners somewhere, the small but persistent voice for Constitutional change.

Then there’s the impasse with China over territories and the ensuing tension within the Region. The slow pace of building back better in disaster areas (not only in Tacloban). Frequent power outages covering entire towns and communities. Killings of journalists and elected local officials. Bomb threats even in shopping malls. The continuing and unresolved issue of Communist insurgency and issues over land and property rights. The hanging question as to the direction of agriculture given that it is still the country’s predominant livelihood. The largely unresolved issue of smuggling. The extraordinarily sudden hike in the price of garlic, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that this isn’t due to free market forces.

And on top of it all, the largely unresolved PDAF Scam. What happened to COA’s audited list of liable members of Congress and Senate and elected officials of LGUs? To be fair to the First Three Senators i.e. Enrile, Revilla Jr., and Estrada and the First Accomplice i.e. Senator Enrile’s Chief of Staff Gigi Reyes who are now in various forms of arrest, where are the others?  What happened to the Ombudsman’s timetable for the so-called second, third, and so forth batches?  Why is Janet Napoles not among the First Three?

Any one of these, or some or all of these together, has the potential to destabilize the Nation. That is the last thing Filipinos need or want.

Children learn early on that they must be able to account for the pennies they spent, before their allowance can be replenished or raised if they’re consistently saving as well. The process is called trust building.

This is how both the Executive and the Legislative can earn back trust.

The Executive and the Legislative need to stop the blame game – I believe Filipinos have tuned off this type of communication from their government – and instead discuss how to move forward on the DAP issue: can the DAP be redesigned, and as what it should’ve been done before, approval of Congress sought? But before that can proceed, both Branches should first be able to do an accounting as to what they did with public funds. That is the SOP all over the world. Democracies take this practice very seriously. The SC ruling only served to reiterate this.


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