Aquino insists: DAP is legal

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

MANILA (Updated) -- President Benigno Aquino III shrugged off Wednesday threats of impeachment complaint to be filed against him amid alleged illegal use of government funds through the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

Aquino, in an interview at SMX Convention Center in Pasay City after attending the Brotherhood of Christian Business and Professionals' Grand Breakfast, said that DAP was legal.

"Isulong nila kung sa palagay nila nasa tama pero kakabasa ko lang sa Constitution (I challenged them to push through with the complaint if they think they’re right, but I just read the Constitution), merong authority sa savings to put to other uses, basta nandun sa ating budget," he said.

Aquino was reacting to statements of Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago and former senator Joker Arroyo that DAP was illegal and this could be a ground for his impeachment.

"Nakatoka naman ‘yon supposed to be for projects that are already authorized by Congress. And since they are both senators, the one would assume that they were either supportive of the budget or they were not successful in thwarting the budget," Aquino said of the two lawmakers.

On allegations that DAP was used to bribe the senators to vote for the impeachment of then Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, Aquino said: "Meron bang bribe after the fact?"

He noted that Corona was impeached in May 2012, but fund releases for DAP were made starting October of the same year.

He reiterated that the fund for DAP was used to pump prime the economy.

Aquino, in his speech in the breakfast forum, also criticized those who called him as "Pork Barrel King."

"All the powers at my disposal to gain funds and dole them out where I wanted, I have consistently reduced. Yet despite all this, I have been called the Pork Barrel King. I leave it up to you to judge the reasoning of those who accuse me of this -- they who seem to be so addicted to pork," Aquino said.

Meanwhile, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Secretary Ricky Carandang said that the plunder raps filed against Aquino was just a "publicity stunt." (SDR/Sunnex)

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