CA upholds Ombudsman fine against Butch Abad for simple misconduct over DAP
The Court of Appeals (CA) has upheld the Ombudsman’s March 2017 ruling imposing a fine on former Budget secretary Florencio Abad in connection with the outlawed Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
In a recent 15-page decision, the CA Special 14th Division affirmed that Abad was guilty of the administrative offense of simple misconduct. Since Abad is no longer with the government and could no longer be suspended, he was ordered to pay a fine equivalent to three months’ salary.
The CA rejected Abad’s claim of being in good faith when he issued National Budget Circular (NBC) Number 541 in 2012, which provided for the withdrawal of unobligated allotments to be used for other programs, activities and projects.
The DAP, touted to be an economic stimulus program, was deemed to have encroached upon Congress’s power of the purse.
The court said Abad’s desire to fasttrack public spending was “laudable” and the implementation of the DAP “undeniably yielded positive results that enhanced the economic welfare of the country.”
But, it said this should not spare Abad from being held liable for the administrative offense.
“It is of no consequence, then, that no malice or corrupt motive impelled Abad into adopting the flawed procedures. As responsible public officer, Abad ought to have been well aware that he has no authority to overrule the requirements established rules and the fundamental law of the land,” read the decision penned by CA Justice Zenaida Galapate-Laguilles.
The Ombudsman also found probable cause to indict Abad and former President Benigno Simeon Aquino III for the crime of usurpation of legislative powers, but the case has yet to be filed before the Sandiganbayan.