Petitioners to Ombudsman: How's the DAP probe going?
MANILA, Philippines – What is the status of the investigation into the possible wrongdoings of officials involved in the implementation of the government's controversial spending scheme?
Five months after Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales announced she was initiating a probe into possible crimes and offenses committed under the defunct Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), petitioners who questioned the pump-prime mechanism before the Supreme Court trooped to the Ombudsman to follow up on the status of the case.
Certain acts under the scheme – which redefined the concept of "savings" and moved funds from agencies and branches of government without Congress' approval – were declared unconstitutional by the High Court in July.
In a letter submitted to the Ombudsman Thursday, December 4, petitioners led by former Manila City Councilor Greco Belgica reminded the Ombudsman that the High Court had noted that the authors and executors of the scheme could not simply go off the hook.
Associate Justice Arturo Brion, who penned the decision, noted that the doctrine of operative fact can only apply to projects that can no longer be undone. It cannot apply to authors, proponents, and implementors of the DAP unless there are concrete findings of good faith in their favor in proper tribunals.
The SC declared certain acts under the DAP as unconstitutional. One of these acts is the cross-border transfer of savings from the executive to the legislative branch.
The DAP is a spending scheme meant to boost economic growth. (DAP: What did the Supreme Court really say?)
In a statement, Belgica said evidence that can assist the probe is already available through the 7 evidence packets that the Solicitor General submitted to the Supreme Court during the DAP oral arguments.
"Records show that the DAP involves funds amounting to P150 billion or almost 15 times the PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) case," the letter said.
"In these trying times where the other institution of the government could no longer be trusted, the people could only turn to the Ombudsman to do the right thing," it added.
The DAP ruling came months after the High Court also declared lawmakers' discretionary funds known as the Priority Development Assistance Fund as unconstitutional.
The PDAF is the subject of the biggest corruption scandal to hit the Philippines in recent years, involving close to 200 lawmakers and billions worth of funds.
Other signatories to the letter include DAP petitioners Bishop Reuben Abante and Manuelito Luna, Integrated Bar of the Philippines national president Vicente Joyas, Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants national president Josefina Chua and lawyer-accountant Glenn Chong, a former congressman of Biliran. – Rappler.com