Pagbayaran mo ‘yan! CA denies Abad’s appeal to be spared from liability over DAP

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The Court of Appeals (CA) has denied the appeal of former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad to be cleared of liability in connection with the unconstitutional Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

In a recent 4-page resolution, the CA Former Special 14th Division sustained its February 27, 2019 decision to affirm the Ombudsman’s March 2017 ruling that found Abad guilty of simple misconduct.

Since Abad is no longer part of the government, his administrative offense would be punishable with a fine equivalent to three months’ salary.

The CA said Abad cannot invoke good faith. Although it found “no malice or corrupt motive” behind the DAP, it said he was not allowed by the Constitution and the General Appropriations Acts (GAAs) to prematurely withdraw unobligated allotments and realign them to other projects.

Under Abad’s National Budget Circular (NBC) Number 541, the allotments which underspending agencies had not used were declared “savings” and transferred to other projects.

But, the court said the scheme disregarded the two-year period of availability of the allotments, and Abad shortened the period fixed by Congress without authority to do so.

The CA acknowledged Abad’s “desire to fast track public spending and push economic growth” and the “positive results that enhanced the economic welfare of the country.”

Still, the court said: “Abad ought to have been well aware that he has no authority to overrule the requirements of established rules and the fundamental law of the land.”

The resolution was penned by Associate Justice Zenaida Galapate-Laguilles.

The Supreme Court (SC) declared certain budgetary practices under the DAP unconstitutional in a July 1, 2014 decision.

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.

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