Saturday, November 30, 2013


MANILA-Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada said that the Commission on Audit lost its credibility in looking into the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) as the agency itself is a recipient of the said funds.
Sen. Estrada said as much during the plenary budget deliberation of the proposed 2014 budget of the COA late Monday night, as he rejected the idea that the agency could look into the DAP disbursements with objectivity and impartiality especially that it was also made a beneficiary of the said fund release.
COA Chairperson Grace Pulido-Tan in a statement made early October disclosed that the agency is examining the utilization of the DAP, in response to the request made to them.
The lawmaker also questioned the Commission on Audit’s expenditures using the funds from the DAP.
Jinggoy recalled that Secretary Butch Abad of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) earlier declared that the DAP was designed to ramp up spending and help accelerate economic expansion and that releases from DAP were for quick moving projects that directly supported the Aquino administration’s socio-economic development platform.”
Chairperson Pulido-Tan said that she requested funding from the DBM to modernize the computer systems of the agency. DBM then released funds totaling 143 million pesos sourced from the DAP.
COA broke down the fund utilization as follows: P68,352,000 for information technology infrastructure program; P2,079,900 for installation of closed-circuit television; P4,607,000 for the hiring of litigation experts and legal and management consultants; and P5,115,000 for the purchase of service vehicles.
“So Sec. Abad considers the purchase of cars and computers as a ‘quick moving project’ and an ‘activity which pump prime the economy,’” Jinggoy asked.
“Your agency cannot be objective in its audit on the propriety and legality of the DAP when the agency itself is a recipient and beneficiary of the DAP even if there is no irregularity in the disbursement of the DAP, and everything was in accordance in the SARO issued by the DBM,” Jinggoy said to Tan.
The constitutionality of the DAP is now questioned before the Supreme Court, as critics and observers say that the DAP is an illegal disbursement by the government as this is made outside the enacted appropriations law.
Sen. Estrada raised the possibility of forming an independent body composed of respected personalities from the academe, mass media, among others to scrutinize the releases made under the DAP. 

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