Friday, July 18, 2014

How PNoy followed Marcos's footsteps on DAP

I. How the Aquinos turned Yellow

The song, "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree," inspired Ninoy Aquino's supporters to tie yellow ribbons to await his coming.  After Ninoy's death, the color yellow became associated with Cory Aquino and the anti-Marcos movement.  And after Cory's death, the yellow ribbon became a symbol for those who wish Nonoy, the son of Cory and Ninoy, to run for president. (c.f. Wikipedia: Yellow Ribbon)

When Noynoy became the president, he adopted the color yellow.  He has the pedigree: his father is the face of the opposition during Martial Law and his mother is the icon of democracy after the 1986 EDSA revolution.  "Kung ano ang puno, siya ang bunga." Or as the Gospel would say:
Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. (Mt 7:16-17)
Thus, if the parents are good, the children must also be good. But why did a good tree bear bad fruit?  If the Pres. Noynoy Aquino's parents are champions of democracy, why did Nonoy followed the footsteps not of his parents but that of the Pres. Marcos?

II. DAP of Marcos and PNoy

In p. 53 of the Supreme Court's Decision on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), we can see that the Supreme Court already knows something about DAP: it is not a shiny new thing, but something conceived nearly 40 years ago by Marcos' brilliant mind.  In Section 44 of his Presidential Decree 1177 published last July 30, 1977, we read:
Section 44. Authority to Approve Fund Transfers.The President shall have the authority to transfer any fund appropriated for the different departments, bureaus, offices and agencies of the Executive Department which are included in the General Appropriations Act, to any program, project, or activity of any department, bureau or office included in the General Appropriations Act or approved after its enactment.
The President shall, likewise, have the authority to augment any appropriation of the Executive Department in the General Appropriations Act, from savings in the appropriations of another department, bureau, office or agency within the Executive Branch, pursuant to the provisions of Article VIII, Section 16 (5) of the Constitution.
Compare this with the definition of DAP as summarized by the Supreme Court:
At the core of the controversy is Section 29(1) of Article VI of the 1987 Constitution, a provision of the fundamental law that firmly ordains that “[n]o money shall be paid out of the Treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation made by law.” The tenor and context of the challenges posed by the petitioners against the DAP indicate that the DAP contravened this provision by allowing the Executive to allocate public money pooled from programmed and unprogrammed funds of its various agencies in the guise of the President exercising his constitutional authority under Section 25(5) of the 1987 Constitution to transfer funds out of savings to augment the appropriations of offices within the Executive Branch of the Government. But the challenges are further complicated by the interjection of allegations of transfer of funds to agencies or offices outside of the Executive. (SC Decision on DAP, p. 6)
Eerily familiar?  Notice the key words: President, transfer, augment, funds.

That is why, last February 27, 1987, 25 days after the ratification of the 1986 Constitution, the Supreme Court already struck down Section 44 of PD 1177 for contravening Section 16(5) Article VIII of the 1973 Constitution, which is identical to Section 25(5) of Article VI of the 1986 Constitution:
5) No law shall be passed authorizing any transfer of appropriations; however, the President, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and the heads of Constitutional Commissions may, by law, be authorized to augment any item in the general appropriations law for their respective offices from savings in other items of their respective appropriations. (SC Decision on DAP, p. 54)
In the words of the Supreme Court during that time, in the case Demetria v. Alba:
Paragraph 1 of Section 44 of P.D. No. 1177 unduly over-extends the privilege granted under said Section 16. It empowers the President to indiscriminately transfer funds from one department, bureau, office or agency of the Executive Department to any program, project or activity of any department, bureau or office included in the General Appropriations Act or approved after its enactment, without regard as to whether or not the funds to be transferred are actually savings in the item from which the same are to be taken, or whether or not the transfer is for the purpose of augmenting the item to which said transfer is to be made. It does not only completely disregard the standards set in the fundamental law, thereby amounting to an undue delegation of legislative powers, but likewise goes beyond the tenor thereof. Indeed, such constitutional infirmities render the provision in question null and void. (SC Decision on DAP, pp. 53-54)
III. Two Towers of Dictatorship: PNoy and Marcos

Last Monday, July 14, 2014, Pres. Noynoy Aquino made his defense of DAP.  His defense was nothing new because his points were already answered in the Supreme Court's decision who voted 13-0 against DAP with one abstaining. But there was something new: he threatened the Supreme Court with the following words:
My message to the Supreme Court: We do not want two equal branches of government to go head to head, needing a third branch to step in to intervene. We find it difficult to understand your decision. You had done something similar in the past, and you tried to do it again; there are even those of the opinion that what you attempted to commit was graver, if we were to base it on your decision. Abiding by the principle of “presumption of regularity,” we assumed that you did the right thing; after all, you are the ones who should ostensibly have a better understanding of the law. And now, when we use the same mechanism—which, you yourselves have admitted, benefit our countrymen—why is it then that we are wrong?
What does PNoy want really?  That we go back to Marcos's time with laws written in the forms of Presidential Decrees?  He wants to outdo Marcos as a dictator in the same way as Saruman wants Isengard to rival that of Sauron:
A strong place and wonderful was Isengard, and long it had been beautiful; and there great lords had dwelt, the wardens of Gondor upon the West, and wise men that watched the stars.  But Saruman had slowly shaped it to his shifting purposes, and made it better, as he thought, being deceived--for all arts and subtle devices, for which he forsook his former wisdom, and which fondly he imagined were his own, came but from Mordor; so that what he made was naught, only a little copy, a child's model or a slave's flattery, of that vast fortress, armoury, prison, furnace of great power, Barad-dur, the Dark Tower, which suffered no rival, and laughed at flattery, biding its time, secure in its pride and its immeasurable strength. (The Road to Isengard, The Lord of the Rings, p. 555)
PNoy could never match Marcos's brilliant mind in crafting laws, for PNoy has never passed a single law he authored himself when he was still a senator.  PNoy could never match Marcos's oratorical skills: PNoy can deliver a scripted speech in idiot boards; Marcos reads his script, then sets it aside and speak for hours.  But PNoy has one trusty aid: Abad--the Secretary of Budget and Management who knows all the ins and outs of the budget process as Wormtongue knows all the tunnels of Saruman's Isengard.  And the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) was born.  Just as the New Age Movement is just Old Paganism with a new face, so is DAP the same as Section 44 of PD 1177 of Marcos.  Marcos is already dead, but his spirit still haunts us through DAP.  As Mark Anthony said over the funeral of Julius Caesar:
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them; 75 The good is oft interred with their bones; So let it be with Caesar. (Julius Caesar Act 3 Scene 2)
Marcos was an ambitious dictator like Caesar, while PNoy is an honorable man like Brutus--a man who advocates daang matuwid, the straight path of righteousness, a highway before the Lord (c.f Is 40:3), just like the Prophet John who prepared the coming of Christ.  But the highway has turned into a railroad: he railroaded the Constitutional laws in order to implement his good intentions.  Well, the road to Hell is also paved with good intentions.
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