MANILA – The Office of the Ombudsman said on Tuesday that they are investigating the alleged connection of President Aquino and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad with the government’s discontinued Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
According to Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, her office already stated the investigation on its own initiative following the decision of the Supreme Court that the DAP is unconstitutional. Launched in 2011, DAP is a stimulus program created to pump-prime the economy.
Morales said that the President, Abad and “others who appear to have been involved in the conception of the DAP,” are possible respondents if the inquiry sees enough basis for filing a case in the Sandiganbayan.
“All are, pending a fact-finding investigation, and a report is under evaluation by the Ombudsman,” Morales said during the hearing of her office’s proposed P1.77-billion budget hearing.
Meanwhile, Presidential spokesman Herminio Coloma Jr., said that even though the Office of the Ombudsman can investigate the President, no suit may be filed against him during his term.
When asked whether the results of the investigation will be may public, Morales said that her office do not allow release of investigation results.
“Either we approve or disapprove it. If we approve it, then, a case is filed,” Morales said. If not, that means, “The case is closed and terminated,” she said. “That’s why we need ample time to review jurisprudence in order to make sure that everything we do is in accordance with the law.”
DAP was created in order to boost the economy in 2011. However, it sparked controversy when Budget Secretary Abad, in reply to a privilege speech by Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, admitted the existence of the little-known savings.