MANILA - Former Senator Joker Arroyo on Friday criticized the Aquino administration for being "so desperate" to save its face over the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which was struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court (SC).
"The administration must be so desperate that it has gone to such lengths, just to save their face, to even invoke President Cory as an implementor, 25 years ago, of an unconstitutional program similar to DAP," Arroyo said in a statement.
During the Senate Finance Committee hearing on the DAP on Thursday, Budget Secretary Butch Abad claimed the executive branch has been resorting to cross-border transfer of funds since the 1990s.
He said DAP-like mechanisms were also implemented by past presidents, although under different names.
He seconded Senator Franklin Drilon when he said: "The Reserve Control Account mechanism was started in the Cory Aquino administration. Ramos continued that, the mechanism equivalent to DAP. Ganoon din ang ginawa, iba lang ang tawag. Tama?”
But according to Arroyo, Mrs. Aquino did not implement a mechanism similar to the DAP.
"Cory did no such thing. Before Congress convened in 1987, President Cory issued 305 Executive Orders as she then exercised law-making powers under the Freedom Constitution. None were challenged except 2; in both cases, she accepted in good grace that an oversight might have been made because the very competent Office of Deputy Executive Secretary for Legislation was doing the work of 225 legislators was undermanned," he said.
He also stressed that Mrs. Aquino did not implement programs in secrecy, and her then Budget Secretary Gem Carague and then Deputy Budget Secretary Ben Diokno can attend to her "straightforwardness."
"Cory did not do things in secrecy," Arroyo said.