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Saved by the bill

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Breaktime

Saved by the bill

Still pending before the Supreme Court is the motion for reconsideration that the Aquino (Part II) administration filed on the controversial DAP, the “disbursement acceleration program,” started by the administration some three years ago in 2011.

As we all know, since our leader Benigno Simeon (a.k.a. BS) was beating the DAP issue to a pulp in the last few weeks, the Supreme Court already ruled—unanimously—that certain aspects of the DAP were “unconstitutional.”

Now the thing is that, while the Office of the Solicitor General, representing the Aquino (Part II) administration, must file the motion as a matter of procedure, i.e. it was the job of the SolGen, the Supreme Court did not dismiss the motion outright.

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And so despite the attacks against the Supreme Court by the Aquino (Part II) administration, including the legalistic tirades of our leader BS himself—who, by the way, could have been voted “best actor” for his crying performance in his latest Sona—the Supreme Court was willing to review and restudy the issues on DAP.

But really now what new arguments could the Aquino (Part II) administration possibly put forth in its spirited defense of the DAP before the Supreme Court? Well, for one, at least based on our info, it could all be a matter of definition.

Like all other administrations before it, even including the Marcos dictatorship, the Aquino administration simply needed an economic pump-priming program in 2011, the necessity for which actually gave birth to the DAP, the brainchild of Budget Secretary Florencio Abad.

Anyway, the bone of contention in the appeal of the Aquino (Part II) administration to the Supreme Court for mercy—este, for reconsideration—had something to do with a… well, “definition.”

You see, mga bossing ko, the Office of the President, plus of course the Department of Budget and Management, believed that when the government stopped any project at any time of the year, the budget for the abandoned project would become instant “savings.”

Thus, as our leader BS cited in his nationally televised message on the DAP several days ago, the Aquino (Part II) administration believed that the President of the Republic could already use that particular “savings” for other priority projects.

In fact, he cited the specific provision in the Administrative Code of 1987, or Executive Order 292, issued by the Palace during the time of Tita Cory, the mother of our leader BS, which empowered the President to use the “savings” for other projects.

Now, in ruling the DAP as unconstitutional, including the “cross border” transfer of funds, meaning, from the executive branch to the legislative branch—which actually gave rise to the argument that DAP was nothing but “pork barrel”—the Supreme Court also indicated that “savings” could only be recognized, and thus used for other projects, at the end of the year.

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There. The administration believed that the funds would be considered “savings” any time of the year, and the Supreme Court thought it could only be recognized as such at the end of the year.

And in the end, the dispute over the definition of “savings” could only be resolved by the Supreme Court—not by the boys in the Palace, not by legislators who received huge allocations in the DAP, not by the World Bank, which supposedly praised the DAP as our economic savior. Only the Supreme Court.

Unfortunately, in making its decision, the Supreme Court could not be expected to consider some pragmatic results of the DAP—such as those cited by our leader BS in his latest Sona.

Well, he even made special mention of the more than 200,000 “scholars” of the government who billed the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) some P1.6 billion for their training, which the Aquino (Part II) supposedly funded from the “savings” redirected to the DAP.

Obviously, the reference by our leader BS to the Tesda scholars was his attempt to bring the DAP issue down to the grassroots, because it seemed that all the hifalutin debate on the issue did not really matter to the guys down here in my barangay.

One TV news reporter actually interviewed people in a neighborhood bingo game, and they all did not understand what our leader BS talked about in his nationwide TV speech on the DAP, because all they really needed was for the government to use our tax money to improve their lives.

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TAGS: Breaktime, conrado banal, disbursement acceleration program (DAP), supreme court
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