Senate panel summons Abad to explain DAP

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Friday, July 11, 2014

THE Senate committee on finance summoned Budget Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad to explain before a public hearing scheduled for July 21 the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which was declared partially unconstitutional by the Supreme Court (SC).

The committee hearing is the continuation of the previous proceedings by the Senate that were suspended out of courtesy to the Supreme Court, which was then deliberating the various challenges questioning the legality of the DAP.

Senator Francis Escudero, chairperson of the finance committee, directed the secretary of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to submit to the Senate panel the complete list of the all the Special Allotment Release Orders (Saro) that were disbursed under the DAP, including "projects/purpose and the amount of the releases."

"You have been asking us which among our programs and projects were funded by the DAP… This is what we have been asking the DBM too since our last committee hearing: where is the list?" Escudero said.

Escudero wanted Abad to clarify reports that total disbursed funds under the DAP amounted to P372 billion, which did not tally with the list provided by the budget department.

"What DBM gave to the committee only amounted to over P200 billion," he added.

Escudero said he would also ask Abad to identify the fund releases under the DAP that were considered unconstitutional by the SC.

"If we want to scrutinize the DAP releases under the guidance of the SC decision, we need all the papers that only DBM can provide. We are entering the budget season and on the part of the finance committee, we are carefully studying the court decision to ensure that the next budget we will be crafting and approving will be compliant with the Supreme Court decision on the DAP," Escudero said. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)

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