UPDATE: Ombudsman finds basis to sue Aquino over budget disbursement program

THE Office of the Ombudsman has found basis to charge former president Benigno Aquino 3rd with usurpation of legislative powers over the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

According to a statement issued on Wednesday, the Ombudsman said that Aquino had the authority and duty to look into the items on the memorandum before signifying approval.

Former president Benigno Aquino 3rd FILE PHOTO

“An examination of the Memorandum would show that respondent Aquino made marginal notes on several expenditure items and on the approval page. Such marginal notes show meaningful discussion between respondents and not mere reliance of a superior on a subordinate. Thus, respondent Aquino cannot rely on the Arias doctrine,” the Ombudsman said in the resolution.

“It is thus clear that respondent-movant Abad sought the approval of respondent Aquino on both the request for authority to pool savings to fund the DAP and the request for omnibus authority to pool savings/unutilized balances. In both instances, respondent Aquino knowingly gave his approval. His approval prompted the issuance of NBC [National Budget Circular] 541 which directed the withdrawal of unobligated allotments and unreleased appropriations and their declaration as savings, which is contrary to law,” the Ombudsman said.

“In the same Resolution, the Special Panel denied the Motion for Reconsideration filed by Department of Budget and Management (DBM) ex-Secretary Florencio Abad, thus affirming Abad’s earlier criminal indictment for the same offense and his administrative liability,”  according to the statement.

Meanwhile, the Ombudsman upheld its ruling that found basis to charge former Budget secretary Florencio Abad with usurpation of legislative powers. The matter stemmed from the issuance of NBC 541 to carry out the implementation of DAP.


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