Youth groups file plunder charges vs Abad over DAP
MANILA, Philippines – Youth and student leaders on Tuesday, July 8, filed plunder raps against Budget Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad over the administration's Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), aspects of which the Supreme Court earlier declared as unconstitutional.
The petitioners – composed of youth groups led by the Kabataan party-list group and Youth Act Now! – said Abad “systematically misappropriated, converted, misused, and malversed public funds" through DAP, a scheme initiated in 2011 to transfer savings and unused funds from slow-disbursing programs of one department to fast-moving projects of another.
In their 16-page petition, petitioners noted that the high court, in its decision, said the "doctrine of operative fact" only applies to projects, activities, and programs under DAP and not to authors, proponents, and implementors of DAP.
Under the operative fact doctrine, the law is recognized as unconstitutional but the effects of the unconstitutional law, prior to its declaration of nullity, may be left undisturbed as a matter of equity and fair play, according to the Supreme Court.
Kabataan Representative Terry Ridon said the exclusion of public officials involved in the DAP scheme from the operative fact doctrine implies that the Supreme Court is leaving them "open for investigation for their criminal, civil, and administrative liabilities" and in effect, "telling the Filipino people that the Aquino administration, especially Budget Secretary Abad, should be held liable."
Petitioners also cited in the complaint allegations made by Janet Lim Napoles in her affidavit that she learned to use fake non-government organizations to get public funds through Abad under the multi-billion-peso pork barrel scam.
Aside from Ridon, petitioners of the plunder raps include:
- Youth Act Now! National Convenor Victor Villanueva
- Ateneo de Manila student publication Matanglawin editor Dyan Francisco
- Youth Act Now!-Ateneo de Manila University chapter coordinator Jerome Flores
- University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman Philippine Collegian editor Mary Joy Capistrano
- UP student regent Neill John Macuha
- Katipunan Kontra Korupsyon convenor Eduardo Gabral
- UP Manila Collegian editor Elizabeth Fodulla
- Polytechnic University of the Philippines Catalyst editor April Joy Camacho Youth Act Now!-UP Open University coordinator Michelle Lado
- Anakbayan chair Vencer Crisostomo
- Student Christian Movement spokesperson Einstein Recedes
- League of Filipino Students spokesperson Charlotte Velasco
- College Editors Guild of the Philippines president Marc Lino Abila
- National Union of Students of the Philippines president Sarah Jane Elago
Youth Act Now! coalition earlier filed plunder raps against Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala over his alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam.
Ridon said the group is also readying its impeachment complaint against President Benigno Aquino III. – Angela Casauay/Rappler.com