Monday, December 21, 2015



A lawyer worth his salt should advise President Aquino to refrain from filing a motion for reconsideration to the decision of the Supreme Court declaring Florencio Abad’s formula of syndicating public funds unconstitutional.  The 13-0 ruling is a virtual writing on the wall.  No justice will stake his integrity and wisdom of the law to make a volte-face in reversing himself as if to admit it was he who committed the mistake in rendering judgment.  If the vote was something like 8-5, 9-4, or 10-3, maybe we could give PNoy the nudge to give it his best shot. 

We are saying this because his speech before a group of herded minions in Malacañang was something we call in the vernacular pabalagbag.  Instead of hearing a public apology to give credibility to his claim of good faith, his speech was an outright denial with an arrogant tone of “why blame him?”.   The speech was a virtual tirade against the Supreme Court.  Of course, it was also an occasion to marshal the yellow minions to show their solidarity —that he is right and his critics are wrong.
PNoy practically lectured the gurus of our laws to understand Book VI, Chapter 5, Section 39 of the Administrative Code which he quoted: “Except as otherwise provided in the General Appropriations Act, any savings in the regular appropriations authorized in the General Appropriations Act for programs and projects of any department, may, with the approval of the President, be used to cover a deficit in any other item of the regular appropriations.”  Insisting on having the power to transfer savings to other projects, he added, “The power does not limit the transfer to only one department or branch of government.”  In other words, he said, “We did not transgress the law when we implemented DAP. The Constitution and the Administrative Code are not at odds with each other.”
But for all those silly arguments, he omitted the key word called “SAVINGS.”  Everybody knows that “savings” in relation to the General Appropriations Act pertains to unspent funds for a program that has been appropriated in the previous fiscal year.  Only until and after that fiscal year has been completed can the unspent funds be rightly called “savings”.    If PNoy does not know that, he should ask his Commission on Audit Chairman Grace Pulido-Tan whether his interpretation is correct.
The reason why the Constitution prohibits the realignment of funds to other projects is it ignores what the General Appropriations Act has specifically itemized.   If allowed, the President, as chief implementor, would not only enjoy the widest latitude to realign funds to his “priority” programs and projects done either by the diversion of  funds or by withholding their release in whole or in part to create an artificial surplus.  In such case, the juggling of funds would allow him to use them to bribe politicians as what he did to dunk Chief Justice Renato Corona, Jr. to the dustbin, or to fund the projects of his favorite clappers.
In fact, his pabalagbag speech was revealing that he miserably failed to comprehend that the issue is not on how he spent the money, but on how he and his subaltern Florencio Abad got hold of those funds bypassing the constitutional process of securing an appropriation.  He reduced himself to a virtual clown when he said the previous administration had been doing that.  PNoy should know that a precedent wrongly interpreting the Constitution cannot be used to continually violate the Constitution.    His alibi that he only followed what his predecessor did is an open admission of his criminal liability.
Moreover, to allocate to the President a huge budget for him to dispose at his discretion is creating a dangerous precedent of completely siphoning public funds, a practice that could put to shame the DAP.  This we hasten to say for according to former National Treasurer, Leonor Briones, for 2015 of the proposed national budget of P2.606 trillion, 11 percent or P282 billion is tucked in as under the discretion of the President. That huge amount is tantamount to privatizing the taxpayers’ money because he enjoys the absolute and widest latitude to dole out those funds to his yellow hooters, while getting away with congressional inquiry.
The lump sum allocation with a carte blanche authority to spend as it pleases him is most outrageous.  First, by its nature, it is a pork barrel given to the President.  Second, it gets away with the requirement of itemizing the projects to be funded.  Third, public officials would from then on look up to him as their master and life-giver, instead of being loyal to their duty as public servants and frugal in spending public funds.  Fourth, the anomalous practice could create a financial dictatorship to one considered by many as mediocre.  It is frightful because he could use them to bribe or to seduce people to bow down to his whims and caprices. 
Somebody said PNoy learned his modus operandi from his own handler, Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte who during his term as Mayor of Quezon City practically allocated to his office nearly half of the funds for the years he served as mayor.   With an annual revenue of P10 to 11 billion, he allocated to his office an average of more than P3 billion, which practice was continued by his successor.  Invariably, Belmonte was able to create a formidable political empire with him as virtual demigod. This now explains why Belmonte’s right hand man in Quezon City, Paquito Ochoa, was appointed by PNoy as his executive secretary—he knows all the tricks of the trade. 
Finally, the vengeful move of this pretending-to-be-honest government to abolish the Judiciary Development Funds created under P.D. No. 1949 would be a test of wit and will for him.  PNoy’s attack dogs in Congress led by Speaker Belmonte and Congressman Niel Tupas want to abolish the JDF.   Unfortunately for the two clowns, the JDF funds comprise the docket fees paid by court litigants.  Unlike taxes where the government is free to prioritize the projects that need to be funded, docket fees are strictly confined promoting efficient service in the judiciary by giving incentives to judges and personnel, and to improve its facilities.
Did it not cross the mind of these two clowns that the Judiciary, despite its being a passive institution, can terribly make things difficult for the arrogant and obviously ignorant power broker?   Maybe he can abrogate the decree because he controls and could manipulate the majority of the members of Congress.  But what about if one taxpayer suddenly files a petition praying that the resolution masterminded by Belmonte and Tupas be declared unconstitutional? What will they do if the High Court declares their resolution unconstitutional and illegal?  Would it not result in the Supreme Court pulling their tail, instead of them making a monkey of the court?

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