By Sammy F. Martin
MANILA, (PNA) — Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone defended on Tuesday the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), saying he is optimistic that the Supreme Court will declare it as constitutional.
“I have made my own research and found out that there is no way that the Supreme Court will declare DAP as unconstitutional,” Evardone told House reporters during the weekly forum Ugnayan sa Batasan.
He dismissed issues being floated by some government critics that only the President is all alone defending DAP, stressing that the Liberal Party is in full support of DAP.
He explained that DAP is just a “brand” and not new in the budget realignment. It has been used by the three past administrations and no one questioned it.
Evardone, vice chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, said that the Chief Executive has the power under the Constitution and that of the General Appropriations Act to realign savings of the Executive within the Executive Departments only.
“There are no proof that DAP had been abused. Hanggang ngayon nga suspicion pa lang. The government has proven that DAP is useful and has exercises transparency,” he explained.
According to the veteran lawmaker, government critics who have been in the past administrations are applying squid tactics. They want to outsmart the present administration because they are having a hard time to find wrongdoings.
“Why the government needs to explain? Di ba ang dapat magpaliwanag ay yung mga ginamit ang pondo ng pamahalaan sa hanggang ngayon ay hindi mabatid kung saan ito napunta?” Evardone asked.
He explained that this is also the practice in the judiciary. The Chief Justice can realign savings within the judiciary to other projects like housing or building additional halls of justice in the regions.
“If they want to strip the power of realignment of budget in the legislative, they might as well strip the same power in the judiciary to make it fair,” he emphasized.
What the public should monitor, Evardone said, is to where the budget goes and how it is spent. Since the present administration is religiously exercising transparency, the public can easily see if there are irregularities in the expenditure.
He stressed that “Tuwid na Daan” has been the guiding light of the present administration and wants to retain this until after the end of the term of the Aquino administration, with the hope that the succeeding administrations will do the same to cleanse the government from corruption.