‘Excuse me, DAP is no PDAF’-A A +A
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
IN HIS July 14 TV address, President Aquino expressed annoyance that some critics said his DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Fund) was like Congress's PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund).
"Excuse me" -- idiom for "say that again" -- signifies disbelief: how dare they put DAP, noble intentioned and corruption-free, on the same table with graft-ridden PDAF?
DAP funds were used to stimulate the economy, PNoy said. Criticized for spending slowly, they used DAP money to rev up engines of industry.
How could it violate the Constitution, how could authors and implementors be held liable? PNoy couldn't understand the 13-0 Supreme Court ruling.
His lawyers didn't explain or he ignored their briefing.
But as data trickled out of public records, people doubted PNoy's claim that it was all about the economy.
A sampler of the spending: P800 million for construction, renovation and equipment of the Palace; P379M for police logistics; P250M for Congress library and archives; P144M for COA infrastructures and hiring of litigation experts; P357M for Philippine Heart Center. They might have pushed the economy, if indirectly and remotely.
All that and others still to be disclosed in a long-promised list, on top of P1.1 billion for senators in a post-Corona-impeachment-trial gift- giving spree.
What the public abhorred in PDAF was abuse of funds by legislators and bureaucrats.
What the SC thrashed in DAP was usurpation of power and also possible abuse of funds by beneficiaries.
DAP was no PDAF? PNoy may be right. A justice of the high tribunal said DAP was worse.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 24, 2014.