MANILA - Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano defended Budget Secretary Butch Abad from criticisms after the Supreme Court declared the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) as unconstitutional.
Cayetano believes that the DAP was done in "good faith."
Cayetano was one of the senators allowed to nominate projects under the DAP with an allocation of P50 million, according to a list released by the DBM.
"To be fair kay Secretary Abad, I think he is being unfairly demonized... I believe in good faith itong programa. They tried to stimulate the economy... Noong pinakulong ang mga nasa PDAF scam, ang message sa buong mundo, sa Pilipinas kinululong namin ang mga magnanakaw.
"Kung ikululong mo si Secretary Abad, ano ang magiging message mo? Kung sumubok mong maging creative, kahit 20 years ginagawa ikukulong ka namin 'pag sinabi ng Supreme Court na unconstitutional? Anong mangyayari sa future bureaucrats? Baka sa takot ng lahat na ma-declare na unconstitutional ang isang 20 years nang ginagawa, baka wala nang gumawa ng projects sa Pilipinas," Cayetano said
"The DAP was an honest mistake on the part of Malacañang because they adopted what the previous administrations did."
But he added that those who stole from the DAP should be prosecuted.
Cayetano said he did not view his allocation as a prize for voting to convict former Chief Justice Renato Corona, adding that lawmakers were not told that it was under the DAP and thought that they were part of the regular releases as part of their PDAF.
He said that he nominated infrastructure projects such as schools and health centers, as well as soft projects under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Health (DOH) hospitals and scholarships under the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
He also described as "totally ridiculous" proposals for lawmakers to return the money used under the DAP.
"Unang-una, hindi naman sa'yo napunta ang DAP. Halimbawa, kung eskuwelahan 'yun, paano mo isasauli ang eskuwelahan? Kung ginamit sa dialysis 'yun, pwede mo bang kunin ang gamot sa katawan ng nag-dialysis?" he said.
Cayetano said that money should be returned if the project was done in bad faith and if funds were stolen.