New suit vs Aquino 'harassment,' says Valte

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 08 2016 05:55 PM

MANILA - The move of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) and Bayan Muna to file graft and technical malversation charges against private citizen Benigno Simeon Aquino III no longer surprised the former president's camp.

''As soon as PNoy stepped down, they mobilized to rally at his Times Street home, unwilling to extend to him a peaceful homecoming. Unsatisfied, they mobilized again the next day, deliberately provoking the policemen assigned there in the hope of manufacturing violence to boost media coverage of their shenanigans,'' former deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said.

''It is clearly part of their continuing harassment of a president who refused to be cowed by their chest-beating during his entire term."

It is the second complaint filed against the former president since he stepped down and lost immunity last June 30.

Former President Benigno Aquino III waves back to the crowd as he enters his personal residence on Times Street in Quezon City on Thursday. Aquino turned over the leadership of the country earlier to President Rodrigo Duterte in simple rites in Malacañang Palace. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

Militant groups want the Office of the Ombudsman to open a new investigation on DAP after the Office of the Ombudsman did not include the former president in its probe on the controversial program due to presidential immunity.

In September 2015, the Ombudsman announced that Abad and then-budget undersecretary Mario Relampagos were being investigated for technical malversation and administrative charges.

The groups said Aquino should also be investigated for signing all the documents for the release of DAP funds.

"Sa mga dokumentong naka-attach sa aming complaint kita na may consent si Mr. Aquino sa DAP. In fact, siya ang pumipili kung anong proyekto ang papayagan sa DAP," said Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate, one of the complainants.

"DAP was the special budget allocated to hasten the implementation, hindi pwedeng exempted siya sa pananagutang ito," Renato Reyes, Bayan secretary-general said. "Siya ang nag-utos na magkaroon ng programang ito. Mahirap na i-exempt mo siya sa accountability."

DAP was the special budget allocated to hasten the implementation of government projects without the approval from Congress. It was meant to boost the economy.

DAP funds came from the standby funds in the national budget, funds for unfilled government positions, unreleased funds from slow-moving and discontinued projects, as well funds for projects that did not yet have contracts.

In 2014, the Supreme Cout (SC) ruled against the DAP, and it affirmed its initial ruling in February 2015.

The high court said it was unconstitutional to withdraw unobligated allotments from implementing agencies and declare the withdrawn unobligated allotments and unreleased appropriations as savings prior to the end of the fiscal year without complying with the definition of savings contained in the General Appropriations Act.

The SC also argued that cross-border transfers of savings of the executive department to offices outside the executive were unconstitutional.

However, the SC granted Aquino and Abad's plea and declared as legal the funding of projects, activities, programs that were not covered by appropriations in the General Appropriations Act.

The SC said projects under DAP prior to the SC ruling were legal under the "operative fact" doctrine.

It also said the authors of the DAP may be held liable but not its proponents and implementors.