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DBM: P12B from DAP went to projects endorsed by lawmakers

October 2, 2013 5:49pm

The government poured P12 billion of public funds under the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) to projects endorsed by lawmakers during the past two years, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said.

In a statement posted on the government website, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said nine percent of the P137.3 from the DAP for 2011 and 2012 "was released to projects identified by legislators."

The DBM, however, did not provide a complete list of lawmakers who endorsed DAP projects.
Over the weekend, the agency identified 20 senators who endorsed P42-million worth of DAP projects from October 2012 to February 2013--months after the conviction of former Chief Justice Renato Corona by the Senate impeachment court.

In the same statement, Abad insisted that the DAP was never tapped by the administration for "bribes" to lawmakers to oust Corona in May last year.

“This administration does not and will not use public funds entrusted to us by the Filipino people to bribe or coerce any individual or group for any given purpose,” Abad said.     

He also clarified that the DAP funds were released to implementing agencies endorsed by lawmakers, and not to lawmakers themselves.

“This is why our records don’t specifically reflect releases made to Senators or Congressmen. We never release the funds to them. These releases are actually made to the appropriate implementing agencies as endorsed by legislators in their request letters,” the Cabinet official said.

In a privilege speech last week, Senator Jinggoy Estrada revealed that P50 million in additional funds were given to senators who voted to oust Corona. He said that while these may not be considered as bribes, the timing of the releases was suspect.

DAP releases in Nov. 2011

The DBM, however, said that DAP releases for projects identified by some senators were made as early as November 2011, or a month before the House of Representatives voted to impeach Corona.

The agency added that this "spending mechanism" was created in October 2011, with an initial allocation of P72.11 billion, "to ramp up expenditures in the wake of sluggish spending."

In 2011, the Philippines' economic growth slowed to 3.6 percent, which some economists attributed to underspending.

In 2012, the year after the DAP was introduced, the country's gross domestic product rose to 6.8 percent.

Abad explained that DAP releases were sourced from overall savings from the national government. These savings come from allotments for unfilled positions, unreleased funds from slow-moving projects, revenues generated beyond targets such as state firm dividends, terminated programs and unused allotments to agencies.

'Illegal'

Some senators have argued that the DAP may be illegal or even unconstitutional.

On Tuesday, Senator Joker Arroyo said the DBM's creation of the DAP is a "crime" because it was not authorized by law.

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago meanwhile said the the DAP violates the Constitution because it was not included in the 2011 or the 2012 national budgets, and was not authorized by Congress.

Section 39 of the 1987 Administrative Code, however, states that "any savings in the regular appropriations authorized in the General Appropriations Act for programs and projects of any department, office or agency, may, with the approval of the President, be used to cover a deficit in any other item of the regular appropriations." -- KBK, GMA News
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