A veteran lawmaker has hailed the Supreme Court for declaring the Disbursement Acceleration Program or DAP Fund as unconstitutional while reaffirming that the power of the purse solely belongs to Congress.
Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian pointed out that the DAP practically repeals the General Appropriations Act or GAA by realigning funds to items not found in the budget that has been approved by both houses of Congress.
“What the Supreme Court said is that the executive branch can only use its savings on its own turf in line with the principle of separation of powers. Thus, Malacanang cannot share its savings to the legislative branch as this is a violation of that principle,” Gatchalian explained.
“There is no issue if the savings were used in worthwhile projects in the different departments of the government. But it is really problematic if the DAP distributed to some legislators ended up in bogus non-government organizations connected to Janet Lim-Napoles,” he clarified.
But while he praises the High Court for its decision on DAP, Gatchalian opposed move by some of his colleagues in the House of Representatives to push for the impeachment of President Benigno Aquino III for approving the DAP.
Various news reports tag Budget Secretary Florencio Abad as the chief architect and promoter of DAP.
Gatchalian argued that Congress has a lot of important legislation to tackle, noting that an impeachment complaint against the President will not only sidetrack the Lower House but also Malacanang.
“I am against any move to impeach the chief executive as this will only serve as a distraction to the more pressing issues that Congress should address,” Gatchalian said.
“It would be best if the Lower House just concentrate on its legislative work when Congress opens on July 23,” Gatchalian said.
Gatchalian, a second-term congressman and a stalwart of the Nationalist Peoples Coalition or NPC, highlighted the need for Malacanang to focus on how to address the problem of the rising prices of rice, garlic, petroleum products, and other basic commodities. (Monica Cantilero)