SC DAP decision paves the way for impeachment charges vs Aquino

The Inbox

Commentary

By Ellen T. Tordesillas

With the Supreme Court’s ruling that President Aquino and Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad’s baby- the Disbursement Acceleration Program – is unconstitutional, expect impeachment charges against Aquino to be filed soon.

The progressive groups –Anakbayan and Kilusang Mayo Uno- have hinted on impeachment in their statements hailing the High Court’s decision on DAP.

Anakbayan’s Vencer Crisostomo said, “Aquino and his pork gang should resign now in shame. Calls for him to be removed from office via impeachment or via a people’s uprising is growing and is increasingly justified. Aquino and his pork gang should be ousted.”

KMU’s Elmer Labog said, “The SC ruling could only further fuel calls for the Pork Barrel King’s resignation, if not ouster from office.”

Last Tuesday, the Supreme Court, voting unanimously (13-0) ruled as unconstitutional “cross border transfers of the savings of the Executive to augment appropriation of other offices outside the Executive; funding of projects, activities and programs that were not covered by any appropriation in the General Appropriations Act; and withdrawal of unobligated allotment from the implementing agencies and the declaration of the withdrawn, unobligated allotments and unreleased appropriations as savings prior to the end of the fiscal year and without complying with the statutory definition of savings contained in the GAA.”

Main Decision

http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/pdf/web/viewer.html?file=/jurisprudence/2014/july2014/209287.pdf

Separate Opinions:

http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/pdf/web/viewer.html?file=/jurisprudence/2014/july2014/209287_carpio.pdf

http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/pdf/web/viewer.html?file=/jurisprudence/2014/july2014/209287_brion.pdf

Concurring and Dissenting opinion

http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/pdf/web/viewer.html?file=/jurisprudence/2014/july2014/209287_delcastillo.pdf

Separate Concurring Opinion

http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/pdf/web/viewer.html?file=/jurisprudence/2014/july2014/209287 _bernabe.pdf

Concurring Opinion

http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/pdf/web/viewer.html?file=/jurisprudence/2014/july2014/209287_leonen.pdf

It will be recalled that the DAP came into the public knowledge after Sen. Jinggoy Estrada delivered a privilege speech September last year complaining why Malacanang is zeroing on him and his two colleagues in the opposition – Juan Ponce- Enrile and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.

Not knowing about DAP then, Estrada revealed that he and 19 other senators received at P50 million to P100 million in additional lump-sum allocations and linked the huge sums to their votes for the conviction then Chief Justice Renato Corona in the 2012 impeachment trial.

Abad later confirmed the release of P1.107 billion to 20 senators and said that the funds came from the DAP.

It was later found out that there were a number of infrastructure projects in the GAA that were called canceled and the funds were re-aligned to projects submitted by the senators.

Malacanang supporters then twitted that Estrada’s speech was a “dud.” Well, they spoke too soon.

The SC decision has given enemies of the Aquino a potent weapon to attack him and that would be through the filing of impeachment complaints. But the question is, will the impeachment complaint prosper?

House Speaker Sonny Belmonte is said to be in firm control of the Lower House but Malacañang can’t be complacent. They will have to make sure that the congressmen won’t succumb to the lure of the enemies of Aquino. Without DAP and the Priority Development Assistance Fund (which has also been declared unconstitutional by the SC), Malacanang would be hard put to match the incentives of those who want to oust Aquino.

This is definitely a blow to Aquino and his “Tuwid na Daan.

This will hurt his ego but it should tell him and his advisers that just because they are in power, they are not infallible. Some humility should do them good.