MANILA - A spokesman of President Aquino believes it is possible that senators who received disbursement acceleration program (DAP) funds did not know that the allocations they were receiving came from the controversial program.
"It's possible that they were not aware that it was a disbursement acceleration fund, it’s possible. But the source of those funds were clearly, were clearly from the Disbursement Acceleration Program," Spokesman Edwin Lacierda told reporters.
The Supreme Court earlier ruled as unconstitutional several acts under the DAP including the cross-border transfer of funds and the use of the funds for new projects not under the General Appropriations Act.
The discretionary fund earlier hit the headlines when Senator Jinggoy Estrada bared that several senators received some P50 million to P100 million supposedly in exchange for voting to convict former Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Budget Secretary Butch Abad has said the DAP funds were realigned savings meant to spur government spending.
During its life span, DAP funded projects in many government offices including government's investigative, security, and social services arms.
For example, the Commission on Audit (COA), which audits governments funds including the DAP, received P144 million for an IT infrastructure program and the hiring of additional litigation experts in an October 12, 2011 memo signed by Aquino himself.
The Justice Department got P11 million for the operating requirements of 50 investigation agents and 15 state attorneys in the same October 12, 2011 memo.
The House of Representatives got P250 million for its new library in a June 25, 2012 memo.
In an October 12, 2011 memo, lawmakers got P6.5 billion in DAP funds for augmentation Priority Development Assistance Funds.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government also got P250 milllion in performance challenge funds under the same October 12, 2011 memo.
'LET THEM ACCOUNT FOR FUNDS'
Malacanang, meanwhile, is leaving it to government agencies and individual lawmakers who funded projects from the DAP to account for the spending.
For example, Lacierda left it to the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process to account for the DAP funds allocated for the Cordillera People's Liberation Army. The OPAPP
got P1.8 billion for the peace process, according to an October 12, 2011 memo.
"We will ask OPAPP Secretary Ging Deles to provide us the context on those - on that particular expenditure on the CPLA. Perhaps we can provide you context on - in addition to the projects that were mentioned in the Supreme Court cases as to why those were provided to those particular projects," he said.
He said other Cabinet members such as Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman and Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes are ready to give their own explanations about their use of DAP funds.
Earlier, the Palace asked the senators to account for the DAP that ended up in their pet projects. Malacañang said only 9 percent of the DAP went into lawmakers' projects.