MANILA -- The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) urged President Benigno Aquino III to move on from defending the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
In a statement ahead of Aquino’s planned address on Monday, UNA secretary general Toby Tiangco said: “The Supreme Court did not say government should stop because of its decision to declare DAP unconstitutional. Why keep on justifying something that has been unanimously ruled as illegal?”
Tiangco said no amount of explanation can justify the DAP, as he urged Aquino to instead focus on upholding the Constitution.
“The cardinal principle is simple: No one is above the law. Hindi nga po kayo gumagamit ng wang-wang, pero direkta naman po ninyong nilabag ang Constitution which you are sworn to defend and uphold,” he said.
Noting the Aquino administration has only two years left, Tiangco said it is wasting time in pushing an unconstitutional fund.
“Sila mismo sa Administrasyon ang nagsabi na the President is committed to continue the reforms in the last two years of his term. I urge the President to use those two years in improving the lives of our people instead of defending DAP. Maraming taong hanggang ngayon ay wala pa ring maayos na malilipatan sa mga lugar na sinalanta ng Yolanda. Maraming umaasa at naghihintay magkaroon ng trabaho,” he added.
Tiangco also fears that Executive Order 464 created under former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will make a comeback in the administration of her top critic.
The Senate has summoned Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, who is widely believed to be the author of the DAP, to appear before it and explain the controversial fund.
“Now Secretary Abad is saying that he has to get clearance from the President before going to the Senate -- wow, parang EO 464. The burden that PNoy carries all the time is that he keeps on defending his men. But now, it has reached a point where he is protecting a constitution offender and in effect he is also violating the law,” Tiangco said.
Aquino announced on Friday he dismissed Abad’s resignation.
“Good faith or even ignorance does not exempt anyone who abused and defied the law. Matalino ang taumbayan, and they can see that the President defending those who are blameworthy and justifying the P170-billion DAP that came from the people’s money. Defending DAP will further pull him down, and they know too well that there is no justification for violating the Constitution,” Tiangco said.