MANILA, August 7, 2014—A lawyer-priest expresses dismay over President Benigno S. Aquino III’s attempt at legalizing corruption in the country in his request to both Houses of Congress to redefine the term “savings” in the P2.6-trillion national budget for 2015 in spite of the Supreme Court (SC) declaration that certain parts of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) are unconstitutional.
“I do not think that a joint resolution of Congress to provide the President with a definition of savings suits his purpose. You cannot use a joint resolution as a substitute for the statutory vehicle,” explained Ranhilio Aquino, a lawyer-priest who is also dean of the San Beda College Graduate School of Law.
According to the lawyer-priest, it is not possible to broaden the powers of the president by “creating a definition” that will empower him to fund projects without Congressional appropriation.
“There is no need for such a resolution finally because the General Appropriations Act gives Congress the appropriate statutory vehicle to provide this definition always comformably with the Constitution,” Fr. Aquino explained.
In an interview over Radyo Veritas, the lawyer-priest pointed out that the “definition” on which SC based its ruling on the unconstitutionality of DAP is provided by the Constitution itself.
“I cannot see how you can change the definition of savings…You cannot afford to use a law being filed by Congress and ignore the intendment of the Constitution. I mean, if the SC declared that the Constitution forbids DAP, you cannot change the definition of savings just to accommodate it,” he said.
Fr. Aquino offered two probable reasons behind PNoy’s request to Congress during the recent State of the Nation Address (SONA).
“He was asking for two things, number one: a resolution as it were absolving the people concerned from any liabilities. Number two: he was asking the Congress to pass a supplementary budget.
According to the lawyer-priest, there is a very big implication when PNoy asks for a supplemental budget.
“It is as though he’s already owning up that what he used through DAP was wrong.” (Raymond A. Sebastián)