Abad must go

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By Tibs Palasan, Jr

Spark of Law

Monday, July 14, 2014

HE MUST go from the Aquino Cabinet. And, like the three senators, he should be prosecuted, but not necessarily of plunder.

“Daang Matuwid” is all about delicadeza, of constitutionalism. A Cabinet official who is the architect of DAP that juggled public funds from different departments and agencies and re-aligned them for the disposal of politicians is a usurper of legislative power. He does not respect the mandate of the constitution.

He does not deserve to stay in the Aquino Cabinet any day longer.


“Daang Matuwid” is not about selective prosecution. It’s not covering for the ass of a close ally, even if it is clear that he is guilty of wrongdoing. You cannot point the accusing finger for infraction of law against the opposition senators but shield your close ally in the palace. You cannot prosecute vigorously Tanda, Pogi, and Sexy, and still allow your ally from transgressing the constitution with impunity.

Or “Daang Matuwid” is a hallow slogan, more rhetoric than substance.

The recent Supreme Court decision declaring DAP unconstitutional is an unmistakable verdict that the Department of Budget and Management Secretary Butch Abad has usurped the power of the purse which is an exclusive power of Congress.

Butch Abad may not be yet charged with plunder, at least not yet. But the decision of the Supreme Court declaring DAP unconstitutional is more than a showing of probable cause that technical malversation has been committed. PNoy can even be charged, except that he enjoys immunity from suit while he sits in office.

The palace amidst the cacophony of criticisms after the Supreme Court decision is parrying with the shield of good faith and the economic surge due to DAP. At least, the Supreme Court embraces the economic development theme.

Horrible crimes at times are paved with good intentions. There was this father who robbed to buy medicines for his dying infant. Prostitutes sell their bodies so that the members of the family could eat. Many are avowed Robin Hoods who commit crimes for the so-called lofty objectives.

Robin Hood, no matter how noble the intention to rob the rich to give to the poor, still could not escape from being an outlaw. Robbing, no matter how you sugar-coat the intention, is still a crime, and the criminal, ought to be jailed.

This brings us to Butch Abad. PNoy praised him for the economic prosperity that DAP has brought to the country. The projects throughout the country funded by DAP funds have propelled economic activities. The projects generated employment. Although PNoy may have to be reminded that DAP funds, in billions, went to the pockets of public and private figures.

This is not a concession that DAP indeed fuelled the economy. The funds were taken from the “savings” of government agencies but were re-aligned for the favourite projects of our legislators. Even without DAP, these agencies could have spent these so-called “savings” for projects which are within the framework of development plans of the government.

What is apparent now is that a large chunk of DAP was lost to kickbacks.

On matter of DAP being the fuel for economic growth, this claim is at best tenuous.

Butch Abad cannot be praised for the economic surge. Nor could he escape culpability from criminal prosecution on the ground of good faith. Good intentions cannot justify the infraction of the law much worse usurp constitutional power which is the exclusive domain of congress.

PNoy’ time to answer in court will come when he steps down. He may not be liable for plunder. But he approved the DAP which is a clear violation of the constitution.

It is best to fire Butch Abad and prosecute him for technical malversation. This is rule of law: “Walang kaibigan.”

“Daang Matuwid” calls for the application of the law, without distinction of alliances and personal relations.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 14, 2014.


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