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Statement of the Kilusang KonTRAPOrk on the Oral Arguments on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), January 28, 2014, at the Supreme Court
The struggle against the pork is not yet over, in fact it is just intensifying.
Today, the so-called “Disbursement Acceleration Program” (DAP)—or one of the components of the president’s pork—is up for scrutiny by the Supreme Court during the scheduled oral argumentations. However, before we get lost in the tangle of legal jargon and partisan mudslinging, we must remind ourselves that the DAP issue is not simply, as the Aquino media team tried to spin it last year, an issue of whether or not the funds were embezzled, nor is it just an issue of whether or not President’s influence peddling during the impeachment of the former Chief Justice Renato Corona is ethical or illegal. Neither is it a mere “distraction” from the prosecution of the perpetrators of the Napoles PDAF Scam. It is not even just about the Executive branch’s unconstitutional usurpation of the Legislative’s power of the purse. It is far bigger than that.Statement of the Kilusang KonTRAPOrk on the Oral Arguments on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), January 28, 2014, at the Supreme Court
Ultimately and more importantly, the DAP controversy is about trapo politics, and the lack of transparency and accountability—if not the utter impunity—in the way the sitting President and our political elites use the toiling masses’ money to promote their narrow political agenda and political careers.
DAP was born out of the Executive’s distortion of the already constitutionally infirm and democratically repugnant provisions in the 1987 Revised Administrative Code (E0 292) – the President’s power of impoundment (Section 38, Book VI) and power to re-align savings (Section 39, Book VI).
On one hand, by twisting the meaning of these provisions, the sitting President can and has artificially created PDAF-like funds, discretionary and lump-sum funds that he/she can distribute to Congressmen and Senators, and use to buy off their political support. Thus, the peculiar controversy with the Presidential pork has less to do with its size, although its magnitude is undeniable, than with its tendency give birth to new forms of pork. During President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s term, for example, the administration had been borrowing more than it should and reporting the excess as “savings.” Under the Aquino administration, we have the DAP. The President, through the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), asked individual legislators to “endorse” projects and programs that will be funded by the DAP. How the politicians were picked and what standards were used, is subject to the unrestrained discretion of and remain to be undisclosed by the Executive.
On the other hand, the Senators and Congressmen will again be able to acquire funds for more scholarships and medical aid, or substandard roads and unfinished bridges, to buy off their poor constituencies’ electoral support. This is how pork and political dynasties continue to prosper. This is how trapo politics thrives.
Hence, essential to the emancipation of the people from patronage system and to the dismantling of trapo politics, is the scrapping of the President’s pork, including the controversial DAP.
We have seen the abuse and impunity happen in the past, as in the case of PGMA. We saw these happen under the Aquino administration, through the DAP. Without addressing the vulnerabilities of our budgetary processes and the failure of our democratic system, these will happen again under the succeeding administrations.
By defending the DAP and the Presidential pork, President Aquino is the one who put himself on the other side of this fight, the side against a more accountable, democratic and empowering use of the people’s money.
PROTEKTAHAN ANG KABAN NG BAYAN! DAP AT TRAPO POLITICS IBASURA!
28 January 2014
AKBAYAN, Aniban ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (AMA), APL-SENTRO, Bukluran sa Ikauunlad ng Sosyalistang Isip at Gawa (BISIG), Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), CPVA, Faith-based Congress Against Immoral Debts (FCAID), Freedom from Debt Coalition, FRC, Kampanya para sa Makataong Pamumuhay (KAMP), KAISA KA, KAISA UP, Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Maralitang Lungsod (KPML), KMBM, KULAY, KUMPAS, KATARUNGAN, KILUSAN, LPLU, MATINIK, Medical Action Group (MAG), Metro Manila Vendors Association (MMVA), NAGKAISA, PIGLAS-KABABAIHAN, Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), Pambansang Koalisyon ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan (PKKK), Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM), Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Transportasyon (PMT), Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), Samahang Maralitang Nagtitinda (SAMANA), SARILAYA, SANLAKAS, Sanlakas Youth, Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), Woman Health Philippines, Youth for Nationalism and Democracy (YND)