MANILA – The Supreme Court (SC) ordered executive and legislative heads to file their explanations on allegations that the unconstitutional Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) were revived in the 2015 national budget.
Social Watch Philippines, an anti-corruption group, filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition before the SC, questioning Sections 70 and 73 of the 2015 General Appropriations Act (GAA), National Budget Circular No. 559 (NBC 559) and some provisions under the Special Purpose Funds which might have included lump sums and discretionary funds like the DAP and PDAF.
Section 70 of the 2015 GAA defined savings, while Section 73 laid the rules in the realignment of allotment classes and reprioritization of items of appropriations.
The NBC 559, on the other hand, specified the guidelines in the realignment of funds under the FY 2015 GAA and other purposes, and the Special Purpose Funds were the allocations in the GAA for specific purposes.
The petitioners urged the High Court to declare Sections 70 and 73 and certain provisions in NBC 559 and the Special Purpose Funds as unlawful.
The SC then gave Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte 10 days from receipt of notice to submit their comments on the questioned provisions prior a resolution.
While explanations remained pending, the Court did not issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) to halt the implementation of the said provisions.