THE Court of Appeals has affirmed the liability of former Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad for simple misconduct over a financial program that sought to hasten government projects without congressional approval.

In a four-page resolution dated Nov. 25, a court division denied the motion for reconsideration of ex-President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” C. Aquino’s budget chief, upholding its February ruling.

“This court finds no compelling reason to amend or our decision as the issues raised have already been resolved and covered extensively in the assailed resolution,” the court said.

The court had upheld the decision of the Office of the Ombudsman, which found Mr. Abad liable for simple misconduct.

The Ombudsman said Mr. Abad, through the issuance of a circular in 2012, unduly modified and expanded the meaning of ‘savings’ under the General Appropriations Act, which is a power only exercised by Congress.

The circular allowed the consolidation of savings and unused balances as well as the withdrawal and pooling of available balances of agencies with low levels of debt.

In the resolution, the appellate court said the Constitution and budget law are clear and these should not be subject to interpretation. It also cited a Supreme Court decision in 2015 that nullified some practices under the disbursement acceleration program (DAP).

“Thus, Abad may not successfully evade liability by invoking good faith,” the court said. “While Abad’s desire to fast-track public spending and push economic growth is laudable and the implementation of the DAP, in fact, undeniably yielded positive results that enhanced the economic welfare of the country, his defenses cannot override the clear mandate of the law.”

“It is of no consequence, then, that no malice or corrupt motive impelled Abad into adopting the flawed procedures,” the court said. “As a responsible public officer, Abad ought to have been well aware that he has no authority to overrule the requirements of established rules and the fundamental law of the land.”

The Ombudsman fined Mr. Abad the amount equivalent to his salary for three months. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas