Ombudsman takes up DBM offer on new DAP evidence
MANILA, Philippines – Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales on Tuesday, April 25 said that they have sent a formal request to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to be furnished copies of documents that may shed new light on the investigation into the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
Morales said their field investigation office (FIO) sent the letter on the same day of her press conference, April 25.
"In light of the statement of Mr Diokno that they have unearthed documents that probably have a bearing on the DAP, the field investigation office today sent a letter to Mr Diokno to furnish us any documents which they believe have a bearing on the DAP," Morales said, referring to Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno.
Diokno has earlier told Rappler that while they have crucial documents concerning the DAP, the Ombudsman has not made a formal request to see them. The Ombudsman is currently tackling a motion that insists on the liability of former president Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino after he was cleared of all charges.
Morales issued a resolution absolving Aquino of all faults in DAP, parts of which were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court (SC). Complainant Bayan Muna, however, appealed this resolution which triggered fresh investigations at the Ombudsman level.
Bayan Muna said the Ombudsman should look at other documentary evidence that point to the liability of Aquino. Ombudsman only indicted former Budget Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad, albeit for usurpation of legislative power, the lowest of the crimes accused against them.
While not categorically stating that the evidence in their possession will pin down Aquino, Diokno has nevertheless made hints.
"But if you look at the list of those who should probably be charged, there's a long list of Liberal Party members starting with Senators who are sitting in Congress right now, baka 'yun, even the President. This kind of mess cannot happen without the approval of the President," Diokno said in a press conference on April 6. (READ: Where did DAP funds go?)
Diokno even added that they are "protecting the evidence, make sure it's not shredded."
"These are multi-billion (projects) and nobody goes to jail? That's incredible. I think somebody should go to jail for DAP. So we have not seen the end of this," Diokno said on April 6, reflecting pronouncements of President Rodrigo Duterte to "bare all" on the DAP controversy.
Morales, who has been criticized for "shielding" Aquino, clarified that they have coordinated with the DBM from the onset of their DAP investigation. (READ: TIMELINE: The rise and fall of DAP)
"Perhaps in the interim, they have unearthed documents that have a bearing on the DAP, then that's it, the field investigation office today sent a letter," Morales said.
Morales explained that there are two complainants in the DAP case before them: Bayan Muna, and their own, the FIO. It's the FIO who sent a letter on Tuesday to DBM to request for the additional documents.
"If the complainant FIO in the interim can present evidence that can either support or negate the evidence presented in the case, we will certainly consider that," Morales said.
Aquino is due this week to submit his comment on Bayan Muna's motion for reconsideration. – Rappler.com