HIGHLIGHTS: #DAPorals day 1

The Supreme Court hears oral arguments on Malacañang's Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court hears oral arguments on Malacañang’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

Justified by the Executive as a pump-priming effort, it has met criticism for expanding the President’s constitutional powers to realign savings to cover even allocations for unfinished or so-called slow-moving projects. It has funded items that are not in the budget laws of 2012 and 2013.

To legal and budget experts, this was usurpation of the authority to craft the budget, which, under the Constitution, only Congress can exercise.

Listen to the oral arguments below.

Former Senator Joker Arroyo, called it “an invention of the Department of Budget and Management,” after it was exposed – unintentionally – by Senator Jinggoy Estrada on September 25. In a privilege speech, Estrada said extra funds were given to senators after delivering what the President wanted in 2012: the conviction of Chief Justice Renato Corona in the impeachment trial. The funds came from the DAP.

Facing critics, Aquino defended the DAP in a televised address on October 30 saying the program funded infrastructure projects, scholarships, relief for natural calamities, and benefits of government employees. At least he has not stolen from the fund, he claimed. It is legal, he insisted.

Six petitioners believe otherwise. They argue their consolidated petition to declare the DAP unconstitutional. 

You can also follow updates via our liveblog below.

– Rappler.com