MANILA - President Benigno Aquino III will be addressing the nation Wednesday night amid the controversy over the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma confirmed the news, saying Malacanang is already talking to networks to preempt prime time shows.
He said the address will be around 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported Aquino will discuss the controversial PDAF and the DAP. The Department of Justice has filed plunder, graft, bribery and malversation charges against 38 people in connection with the alleged P10 billion pork barrel scam.
In a separate interview with dzMM, Coloma said there is nothing new with Aquino’s addressing the nation. He said the last time he did this was in La Consolacion College in 2012 during the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona.
He said Aquino will be discussing “current issues of national concern.”
Pressed to explain further, Coloma said: “Maaaring ang DAP at PDAF. Kabilang ito sa mga current issues.”
The address also comes at a time when Aquino’s approval ratings are going down because of the pork scam.
Aquino earlier defended the DAP, saying that the stimulus program heralded the country's economic boom.
He said there is a conspiracy to link the DAP to the alleged misuse of the PDAF, noting that the issue came out after the filing of plunder cases against several politicians.
“I was perplexed to hear that some people equated the DAP with PDAF, when, simply, it was a program that strategically allocated funds to agencies that had already proven the capacity to implement projects and programs rapidly and efficiently. The legality of such a process has never been in question. As clearly stated in Executive Order 292, or the Administrative Code of 1987 amongst other laws. It is difficult to fathom how one could equate this program with PDAF,” Aquino said.
Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, who is one of three senators facing charges before the Office of the Ombudsman, was the first to expose the DAP. He said several senators received additional funds after voting to convict Corona in his impeachment trial.