MANILA - Gabriela Party-list Rep. Luz Ilagan believes President Benigno Aquino III is courting his own downfall as fresh details emerge claiming he arranged Chief Justice Renato Corona's ouster via the use of billions of pesos from the previously unknown Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) funds.
"Now that Congress is in recess, the Makabayan legislators go around to see how much more desperation our constituents feel from the unsolved problems of higher prices and bad governance. History has proven that it is the voices of the people that can topple down a regime - and the call for Noynoy's resignation has already started," she said.
Ilagan and fellow Makabayan lawmakers called for the immediate abolition of all pork barrel funds.
"Sawang-sawa na ang taumbayan sa araw-araw na bagong rebelasyon tungkol sa pork barrel: ngayon naman bilang panuhol sa boto laban sa pinatalsik na Chief Justice Corona. Ang tanggapan ni Presidente Aquino ang puno't dulo ng lahat ng komplikasyong ito, kaya ang apela naming mga mambabatas ay gawin na niya ang nararapat na hakbang na matagal nang iniatas sa kanya - ang totohanang pagbasura sa presidential pork!"
Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares confirmed he received additional funding after the impeachment of Corona.
However, he maintained, "I did not receive any [special allotment release order] for the DAP. I received additional P10 M SARO under ‘continuing appropriation’ in April 2012 one and a half years after Corona was impeached. We availed of the additional funds to fill the significant amount of our unreleased PDAF for the needs of our marginalized constituents."
Colmenares pointed out that Bayan Muna has shown its consistency and determination to impeach then President Arroyo, Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez and Corona "borne out of our principles and not for any monetary or pork considerations. Because of our stand, Arroyo denied us pork for 5 years but we do not regret it. "
Colmenares added, "The DAP issue, however, shows the generally rotten character of the presidential and congressional pork. We must abolish the pork barrel system now."
Anakpawis Rep. Fernando Hicap added, "The series of citizen-led protests against the pork barrel and the systemic corruption in the bureaucracy should serve as a wakeup call to the Aquino government. The public is against any form of 'pork', especially the 'presidential pork barrel' that is far larger than the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of the Lower House and Senate combined,"
Hicap ponted out that the Department of Budget and Management's (DBM) admission that it indeed released funds from the so-called DAP shows that the President has discretion over multibillion in public funds.
DAP, a so-called stimulus fund, was introduced by the DBM in 2011 to address government under spending and the low Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at that time. DAP is a lump sum budgetary item that came from pooled government savings.