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No regrets over DAP -- Malacañang

Posted on July 03, 2014

MALACAÑANG does not regret realigning government savings to fund projects under the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which the Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional.

Edwin S. Lacierda -- BW File Photo
As the Office of the Ombudsman announced that it would check the culpability of officials, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin S. Lacierda told Palace reporters that the Aquino administration had “acted in good faith.”

“How does one regret a decision to help thousands of people, of our countrymen? These are noble projects which have benefited the people. We cannot step back and say we regret doing those things that benefitted the people,” Mr. Lacierda said.

The “cross-border” transfer of funds from the executive to other branches of government, he insisted, helped to “accelerate slow-moving projects and promote efficient spending.”

Mr. Lacierda sidestepped questions as to who should be held accountable and whether charges would be filed, saying that unconstitutionality “does not equate to wrongdoing or criminality.”

Asked whether Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” B. Abad still enjoyed President Benigno S. C. Aquino III’s trust despite being tagged as the DAP’s proponent, Mr. Lacierda replied: “Yes.”

Former Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno, in a TV interview, said Mr. Abad “should take the fall.”

“To me, that is the minimum ... you cannot keep this hanging. Somebody has to pay,” he added.

Asked to comment, Mr. Lacierda said. “That’s his (Mr. Diokno’s) ongoing disagreement with Secretary Butch Abad. He is entitled to his own opinion.”

Mr. Lacierda said there was also “no basis” to call for the impeachment of Mr. Aquino, noting that in past administrations “there were certain acts [also] declared unconstitutional.”

Malacañang, he added, is also open to filing a motion for reconsideration at the Supreme Court.

“We haven’t seen the decision yet. But is there a possibility? Until the Solicitor General sees a copy of that, then I can’t say for sure [but] the option is there to file a motion for reconsideration because that is a legal remedy provided under the rules of court,” Mr. Lacierda said.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, meanwhile, said she would be forming an investigating panel “to see if any crime or offense has been committed by involved public officials.”