MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/28 July) – With his credibility “gravely tarnished by the Disbursement Acceleration Program,” President Aquino’s only option is either to repent or resign, eight bishops of the United Church of Christ of the Philippines said Monday.
In a statement, the UCCP bishops said, “The Disbursement Acceleration Program has become a path to betrayal of the public’s trust, causing severe damage to Aquino’s reputation and destroying any semblance of fighting corruption.”
“President Aquino’s continuing insistence that he is trustworthy, and thus, somehow immune or justified in breaking the law runs counter to his supposed efforts to stop corruption and misuse of public funds. In a glaring manner, he has become every bit a violator himself. If President Aquino cannot bring himself to repent from his wrongdoings, his next best would be to resign from his office as President,” it added.
The statement came hours before Aquino’s fifth State of the Nation Address to be delivered before a joint session of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Early this month, the Supreme Court declared the DAP unconstitutional for violating the doctrine of separation of powers and allocating funds for projects that were not in the General Appropriations Act.
“As we continue to scrutinize the processes used by DAP, we clearly see violations of the law. By deceptively re-naming allocated budgets as savings and using them for projects and purposes that had not undergone budget approval by the Legislature, President Aquino has undeniably violated the checks-and-balances of the Constitution and encroached on the sole power of the Legislative Branch,” the bishops said.
They said Aquino not only ignored demands for an end to “pork barrel politics” but also deflected attention away from the pork barrel scam and “projected himself as ferreting out corruption and bad practices”.
“Even worse, significant DAP funds appear to have been channeled to favored patrons and cohorts at Aquino’s discretion as well as used for alleged bribes to senators to ensure the votes to impeach former Chief Justice Corona. President Aquino has obviously veered off any Daang Matuwid,” they added.
The bishops also accused the president of issuing thinly veiled threats to the Supreme Court.
In his televised address the other week, Aquino hinted the Supreme Court decision on the DAP might result in a confrontation between the executive and the judiciary.
The president’s allies in the House have filed bills calling for the abolition of the Judicial Development Fund which they described as a judicial pork barrel, which the opposition viewed as a move to blackmail the Supreme Court.
The statement was signed by Bishops Reuel N.O. Marigza, Elorde M. Sambat, Emergencio D. Padillo, Joel E. Tendero, Jaime R. Moriles, Jezer E. Bertoldo, Melzar D. Labuntog and Hamuel G. Tequis. (MindaNews)