Palace defends Abad 'absence'
MANILA - Malacanang is not yet giving an accounting of the disbursement acceleration program (DAP), at least for now.
In a press conference, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. explained the DAP case before the Supreme Court is still active as the government is still considering filing a motion for reconsideration.
Coloma said Malacanang will account for the DAP expenses in due time.
"Kasama na ‘yon sa ating pag-aaral at tumatalima naman tayo doon sa mga prinsipyo ng accountability of public officials. Kaya’t makatitiyak tayo na doon sa takdang panahon ay magkakaroon ng pagbubunyag hinggil sa mga bagay na ‘yan,” he said.
He said accounting for the DAP projects now may muddle the issue.
"Sinasabi lang natin na meron pang umiiral na proseso ang batas at sa aming palagay dapat ay kunin namin ang pagkakataong nasa amin sa kasalukuyan na pag-aralan muna nang masusi ang buong implikasyon ng pasya ng Korte Suprema para makapagbuo ng appropriate response and we are still well within our window of opportunity under the rules of court,” he said.
On one hand, Malacanang is seeking accountability from the lawmakers.
Coloma explained the government has always been for accountability. However, he was not clear on how much money was spent for the DAP.
"Tingnan na lang natin doon sa record mismo ng kaso. Kasi ‘yon naman ang inihain sa Supreme Court at ‘yon naman ang pinag-aralan ng ating mga mahistrado," he added.
He also refused to dignify a statement from the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan accusing Malacanang of underspending deliberately to lay down the basis for the DAP.
"We prefer that we stay focused on the findings of the court as embodied in its decision. From our reading of the decision, this point was not taken up by the court and may not be a relevant topic for discussion," he said.
WHERE IS ABAD?
Coloma also explained why Budget Secretary Florencio Abad has yet to face the media on the DAP.
Abad is said to be the brains behind the DAP. It’s been a week since the high court struck out the DAP as unconstitutional.
“Ginagampanan ni Secretary Abad iyong kanyang tungkulin bilang Secretary of Budget and Management at ginagampanan din ng pamahalaan, ng administrasyon ang tungkulin nito na pag-aralan ng masusi ang buong desisyon ng Korte Suprema para makapag-buo ng angkop na tugon dahil nga meron tayong 15 araw simula sa pagtanggap ng desisyon para magbuo ng pasya kung saan pa nais pumunta hinggil sa usaping ito,” he said.
He said that when the government does make its response, it will be based on the Supreme Court ruling.
The DAP officially ended in December 2013, months before the supreme court ruled on the legality of the DAP.
The DAP became controversial after it was alleged that it was used to bribe senators to oust Chief Justice Renato Corona.