MANILA - President Aquino’s spokesman is withholding comment on the Supreme Court’s ruling declaring unconstitutional the acts in his administration’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which critics have derided as presidential pork barrel.
Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, in a text message to media said, “We can’t issue a comment since we haven’t seen the decision.”
Lacierda yesterday defended the DAP, stressing it was good for the country.
“We strongly believe that the DAP has benefited the country when we had a quarter where there was a very low GDP (gross domestic product), we implemented the DAP and it contributed to the various programs of the government, the various agencies. So we do not believe that there is a double standard when it comes to DAP,” he said.
President Aquino himself has defended the DAP, which realigns savings generated from unimplemented government projects to other expenses.
Aquino said he did not use his power to realign the same way his predecessor used her power to realign government funds.
As a senator, Aquino had filed a bill seeking to curb then President Gloria Arroyo’s power to realign savings generated from years when her government worked with re-enacted budgets due to Congress’ failure to pass a budget on time.
The DAP became controversial after it was allegedly used to fund projects chosen by lawmakers at the height and in the aftermath of the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.