Duterte says Trillanes, De Lima to face DAP cases soon

Pia Ranada
Duterte says Trillanes, De Lima to face DAP cases soon
President Rodrigo Duterte warns his two critics that cases against them stemming from his predecessor's Disbursement Acceleration Program are 'coming up'

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte hinted that his critics in Congress, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and detained Senator Leila de Lima may soon face cases related to the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) under the Aquino administration.

“She has a case coming up also sa (related to) DAP,” Duterte said during the awarding of government workers in Malacañang on Wednesday, September 20.

“Although I could not believe really kasi kami, mag-usap-usap, grabe itong babae (because we were talking, this woman is really something),” he continued.

Duterte did not explain how De Lima, who was justice secretary under the administration of Benigno Aquino III, was involved in DAP.

Three schemes under DAP were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2014.

DAP diverted unused funds from slow-moving government projects, activities, or programs to quick-disbursing ones, supposedly to stimulate the country’s economy, following “sluggish” government spending in 2011.

Implemented from 2011 to 2013, it pooled government savings and realigned unused funds to 116 high-priority projects. (READ: Where did DAP funds go?)

The SC stated that the cross-border transfers of savings of the executive department to offices outside it is illegal since the President can only transfer savings within the same agency.

Duterte also accused Trillanes of earning from DAP schemes.

Saan pala ‘yung kinita mo sa DAP (Where are your earnings from DAP)? Yung (The) DAP case is coming up,” said Duterte on Tuesday during a PTV interview.

He hinted that more lawmakers or officials would be affected by the cases his administration is building up. But they shouldn’t harbor a grudge against him when the case is made public.

Hindi ‘yan akin ha? I mean, for the others na matamaan. Bato-bato sa langit, huwag kayong magalit, hindi sa akin ‘yan. I said, I am not into the habit of filing cases,” said Duterte.

(That’s not mine, okay? I mean, for the others who will get hit. Don’t be angry, that’s not mine.)

The Department of Justice is probing the DAP and reinvestigating the pork barrel scam cases. Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno earlier said that the Duterte government is conducting its own investigation of projects which were funded by the DAP.

The Office of the Ombudsman had earlier cleared former president Benigno Aquino III of graft charges in relation to DAP, but said former budget secretary Florencio Abad will be charged with usurpation of legislative power for the implementation of DAP.

Senator Jinggoy Estrada exposed DAP in a privilege speech in 2013, claming that Malacañang released an extra P50 million, through the DAP scheme, to each senator who voted to convict Chief Justice Renato Corona in his impeachment trial. Malacañang and the senators denied the allegation. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.