UNA wants Abad's 'head on a platter'
MANILA - The United Nationalist Alliance, headed by Vice-President Jejomar Binay, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, will not back calls to impeach President Aquino over the disbursement acceleration program (DAP).
In a statement, UNA secretary general and spokesman Toby Tiangco said the alliance is backing Binay's position to respect and support the President's mandate.
This is amid calls to impeach Aquino for approving the DAP, which was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
"UNA will not participate in moves to impeach the President on the unconstitutionality of DAP, out of delicadeza and for reasons of conflict of interest since the Vice President is the second highest official of the land. The VP has made his position clear that impeachment is divisive and unproductive," Tiangco said.
However, UNA is urging the President to remove Budget Secretary Butch Abad and order concerned agencies "to file plunder and other administrative and criminal cases against the budget chief."
The Supreme Court earlier declared unconstitutional certain acts under the DAP. It said officials behind the DAP may be held liable for the release and utilization of public funds under the stimulus package.
Tiangco said Abad must be made accountable for the DAP, being the President's adviser on budgetary affairs.
He noted the P170 billion in DAP funds is even bigger than the P10 billion allegedly lost to the pork barrel scam of Janet Lim Napoles.
The Palace earlier said DAP funds were not lost to corruption but were merely funneled to different projects.
The SC, however, struck down as unconstitutional the withdrawal of unobligated and unutilized funds to fund the DAP and the realignment of the funds cross-border.
The Supreme Court said Aquino authorized the transfer of funds from the executive to the legislative departments, as well as to two constitutional commissions: the Commission on Audit (COA), amounting to P143 M; Commission on Elections (Comelec), upon request; and the House of Representatives (HOR), amounting to P250 million. President Aquino also approved all 166 projects and programs funded under the DAP in the entirety of its effectivity between 2011 and 2013.
The High Court acknowledged that the DAP had its benefits, especially in as far as it yielded some positive results on the economy.
"[I]t has been adequately shown as to be beyond debate that the implementation of the DAP yielded undeniably positive results that enhanced the economic welfare of the country," the decision read.
However, laws, policies, and acts must always adhere to the Constitution, the high court stressed.