MANILA - Supreme Court (SC) spokesperson Theodore Te refused to categorically say that the Aquino administration's Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), as a whole, is unconstitutional even if the high court has declared its salient points as illegal.
"Ipagpaumanhin po ninyo, hindi ko po pwedeng sabihin yun. Dahil ako naman po ay nagsasalita para sa korte, ito lang po yung authorized akong sabihin, at magiging conclusion po yun pag ganun. Pasensya na po," Te told radio dzMM on Tuesday.
He said the full decision of the high court, along with the reasons behind the decision, will be released "as soon as possible." He could not, however, give a time frame.
According to Te, the SC voted unanimously to declare as unconstitutional specific acts and practices under the DAP:
a) The withdrawal of unobligated allotment from the implementing agencies and the declaration of the withdrawn unobligated allotments and unreleased appropriations as savings prior to the end of the fiscal year and without complying with the statutory definition of savings contained in the General Appropriations Act (GAA);
"Ang ibig lang pong sabihin nito batay po dun sa pagkakasulat ng korte, itong gawain ng paglilikom-likom ng mga pondo at dinideklarang savings, yan po ay hindi pwedeng gawin," Te said.
"Ngayon ang mahirap po dito, dahil yung mismong decision at yung dahilan kung bakit ganito po yung judgment ay wala pa po sa akin at hindi pa po nirerelease," he said.
b) The cross-border transfers of the savings of the Executive to augment the appropriations of other offices outside the Executive;
The SC spokesperson explained that the President's power to augment funds is only confined within the Executive branch.
"Pag tumawid po, yun ang dinedeklara dito [na unconstitutional]," he said.
c) Funding of projects and activities and programs that were not covered by any appropriation in the GAA;
The SC also declared void the use of unprogrammed funds despite the absence of a certification by the National Treasurer that the revenue collections exceeded the revenue targets for non-compliance with the conditions provided by the GAA.
GOV'T LIABILITY FOR DAP
Meanwhile, Te also refused to comment on whether or not government officials will be held liable for the DAP.
He explained that the dispositive portion of the SC's ruling that he read earlier did not mention anything about accountability of officials involved in the DAP.
"Bale kung wala po siya dun, hindi po siya kasama sa judgment... Hindi napagpasyahan ng korte," he said.
He refused to answer a direct "yes" or "no" when asked if that means no one will be held accountable for the controversial program. "Hindi natin sinasabi yun."
Te noted that the SC only decided on the issues raised in the petitions filed.
"Kung ano yung pasya ng korte, yun lang po kasi yung inihain sa kanila. Kung ano po yung isyung nilalaman ng mga petition, yun lang din naman po yung huhusgahan ng korte," he explained.
The DAP first hit the headlines after Senator Jinggoy Estrada claimed it was used by Malacañang to bribe senators during the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Critics also called the DAP as the "presidential pork."
The Palace and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) denied the allegations, saying the DAP was used to boost government spending and the economy.
President Benigno Aquino III himself had also defended the DAP, noting that it realigned savings generated from unimplemented government projects to other expenses.