Malacanang mum on latest SC decision on DAP

By on February 4, 2015

President Benigno Simeon Aquino III delivers his speech during United Nation Climate Change Summit held at the UN Headquarters here on Tuesday (September 23). (Photo by Ryan Lim / Malacanang Photo Bureau)
President Benigno Simeon Aquino III (Photo by Ryan Lim / Malacanang Photo Bureau)

MANILA — Malacanang officials declined to comment on the latest decision of the Supreme Court (SC) regarding the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) saying they have not received a copy of the decision.

Hihintayin na lang naming mabatid kung ano ‘yung ganap na desisyon at mabasa ‘yung desisyon para maunawaan (We’ll wait (for a copy of the decision) to know what it really says for us to understand it),” President Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a briefing Tuesday.

Coloma stressed that there is a need to verify the reports and fully understand the High Court’s decision, which was made after deliberating on the government’s motion for reconsideration submitted after the SC declared in 2014 that some parts of the DAP are unconstitutional.

Relatively, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, in a statement, cited that based on the limited information from lawyer and SC spokesperson Theodore Te “the SC has upheld the doctrine of Operative Fact which declared all acts are valid until they are declared unconstitutional.”

“Moreover, the presumption of good faith has been preserved and emphasized, which clarified the previous impression that the authors are presumed to be in bad faith,” he added.

The SC has changed its ruling on the DAP by declaring two acts, instead of three, as unconstitutional.

One of these two is the withdrawal of unobliged allotments from the implementing agencies and the declaration of the withdrawn funds and unreleased appropriations as savings even if the said fiscal year is not yet over, which runs against the definition of savings under the General Appropriation Act.

The second act pertains to cross-border transfer of savings of the executive department to offices outside the executive department.

Meanwhile, the High Court okayed with the government’s explanation that there is no constitutional requirement for Congress to create allotment classes within an item but instead for the creation of items similar to the item vetoed by the President.

The Aquino administration started the implementation of DAP in late 2011 to boost government spending and ensure the continued expansion of the domestic economy amid the negative external environment.

It was instituted initially for infrastructure projects, which have been proven to sustain growth of an economy.

In 2011, the Philippines grew, as measured by gross domestic product (GPD), by 3.9 percent, a big drop from the 7.6 percent in the previous year after the Aquino administration plugged loopholes in government spending.

Since the implementation of DAP until its end in 2013, the economy sustained its over five percent growth and has proven itself as among the strongest in Asia.

In 2014, the domestic economy grew by 6.1 percent, second best after China.

However, growth, as measured by gross domestic product (GDP) in 2014, is lower than the government’s 6.5-7.5 percent target on account of the impact of congestion in Manila ports after the city government implemented an expanded truck ban from February to September last year.

Another factor for the slowdown in domestic output is lower government spending, thus, the government vowed to fast-tract all its programs this year to ensure that targets are met.