MANILA — Former senator Joker Arroyo has called upon the Supreme Court (SC) to examine the massive amounts of money involved in the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and analyze how these amounts were disbursed by Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad.
Arroyo, in a statement issued on Friday said: “The Supreme Court perhaps would do well to take judicial notice into the humongous amounts involved to see how the Budget Secretary distributed amounts with complete abandon.”
The ex-senator recalled how he was dragged into the scandal by Abad, who said that he received P47 million for his projects. His name, in fact, is on the list of senators who purportedly received funds from the DAP.
“Mr. Abad included me as the recipient of P47 million. I protested. He clarified the matter in a letter to me a year ago dated 30 September 2013,” Arroyo disclosed.
He quoted a portion of the letter written to him by Arroyo: “While we wholly agree with you that the funds were not sourced from your Priority Development Assistance Funds allocations – which you never availed of – we would like to clarify that the P47-million release was not sourced from amendments to the 2013 GAA, but was instead charged against the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). This is because the 2013 GAA amendments you proposed were not approved by the Congress during the budget deliberations. You may check the GAA 2012 if you wish to validate this clarification.”
According to Arroyo, he indeed pitched for Congress to allocate P30 million to be used in the construction of school buildings, and another P17 million to go towards the medical care of indigent patients in various state-run hospitals.
But he said that his proposals were not approved; a decision which he accepted with “good grace as the judgment of my peers, in light of my being an independent.”
“In his letter, Sec. Abad justified his initiative to allocate P47 million of DAP to me because ‘they were in line with the Aquino administration’s development agenda, particularly with respect to providing quality education and health care services to disadvantaged Filipinos,'” Arroyo pointed out.
“Abad was being disingenuous. Congress disapproved my proposal for P47 million funding. The Budget Secretary in effect overruled the judgment of Congress, and appropriated P47 million to me from DAP. The Budget Secretary, by his lonesome self and at his level, does not have the authority to allocate at his discretion funds for certain projects and assign its disbursements to legislators, LGUs, and other agencies. This is the core issue of DAP,” Arroyo explained.
Arroyo called Abad’s initiative a stroke of “evil geniusness.”
“Was Mr. Abad’s initiative borne out of altruism? No, its evil geniusness. I voted to acquit C.J. Corona in the impeachment trial. To show that the administration is impartial, Mr. Abad bestowed upon me, for appearances, P47 million of DAP funds to squander even if it did not even pass thru me,” he said.
Arroyo stressed that he neither asked for nor – in the end – received the P47 million in question from Abad.