2nd impeach rap vs Aquino endorsed

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 22 2014 11:28 AM | Updated as of Jul 23 2014 02:58 AM


MANILA (UPDATED) - A party-list lawmaker has endorsed a new impeachment complaint filed against President Aquino by at least 20 youth groups and campus editors.

Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon endorsed the impeachment complaint, which has 3 grounds: betrayal of public trust, culpable violation of constitution and graft and corruption - all stemming from the unconstitutional disbursement acceleration program.

It is the second impeachment complaint endorsed by a member of the House of Representatives.

Ridon said the impeachment move does not accuse President Aquino of pocketing DAP funds. Rather, it questions the President's decision to distribute government funds to agencies and allies in Congress.

"This is a willful and deliberate intent to violate the Constitution," he told reporters.

He said the second endorsed impeachment complaint will create a snowball effect and fuel discontent against the President.

Anakbayan national chairman Vencer Crisostomo said the complaint accuses President Aquino of culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust and graft and corruption.

"Malinaw sa amin na ang DAP ay perang ninakaw sa taumbayan. Ito po ay pork barrel overload, unlimited pork barrel ng Presidente," he said in a press briefing.

The new complaint zeroes in on the DAP’s following features:

- The President used the DAP to transfer funds allotted to executive departments and agencies, amounting to P143.7 million and P250 million to the Commission on Audit and to the House of Representatives, respectively.

- The Supreme Court found that, not only did the President transfer funds to the DREAM project, exceeding by almost 300% the appropriation made by the Honorable House of Representatives for the said program in 2011, the President likewise allotted funds for personnel services and capital outlays, expenditures which the executive branch had not even included in their proposed budget which became the basis of the 2011 GAA.

- In addition to attempted corruption of public officials, the President has also committed multiple counts of technical malversation.

“Further, the President is guilty of tyrannical abuse of power and gross exercise of discretionary powers through his blatant and willful disregard of the prerogatives reserved by the Constitution for the co-equal branches of government, namely the Honorable House of Representatives and the Supreme Court," the complaint read.

Earlier, Ridon asked Congress to investigate the implementation of projects, activities and programs under the multi-billion Grassroots Participatory Budgeting (GPB), likening it to the unconstitutional DAP.

In House Resolution No. 1284 filed Monday, Ridon exposed several vulnerabilities of the GPB, including a "DAP-like" provision that enables local government officials to cancel and replace projects already indicated in the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA).

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) defines GPB as "an approach to preparing the budget proposal of agencies, taking into consideration the development needs of cities/municipalities as identified in their respective local poverty reduction action plans that shall be formulated with strong participation of basic sector organizations and other civil society organizations."

Under the GPB process, select local government units are asked to come up with a "wish list" of P15 million worth of projects that they want to be funded by the national government, through consultations with local basic sector organizations (BSOs) and civil society organizations (CSOs).

When the mechanism started in 2013, the fund under GPB reached P8.4 billion spread over 595 municipalities.

For 2014, the budget under GPB soared to a total of P20.03 billion spread over 1,226 municipalities, almost at par with the budget for the now defunct Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

In 2015, the government announced that the GPB will again be expanded to include all municipalities and have a budget amounting to P22 billion.

"The first red flag on the GPB is that it gives LGUs the ability to cancel and replace certain programs and projects, a characteristic similar to that of DAP," Ridon said in HR 1284.

He also pointed to the involvement of CSOs and NGOs in the crafting of proposals that will be funded through the GPB.

The lawmaker expressed particular concern over the "apparent monopoly" of the Caucus of Development NGO Networks (CODE-NGO) in the GPB process.

Ridon pointed out that during the Arroyo administration, CODE-NGO was implicated in a large-scale controversy involving the Poverty Eradication and Alleviation Certificates (PEACe) bonds, wherein CODE-NGO profited about P1.8 billion.

The lawmaker said Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles – both of whom are receiving funds from the GPB through their agencies – were also former CODE-NGO heads and were also implicated in the PEACe bond scam.