By Czarina Nicole Ong, October 15 2018; Manila Bulletin


Image Credit to Manila Bulletin

A new set of complaints have been filed before the Office of the Ombudsman against former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and several members of his former Cabinet and supporters in relation to the controversial cross-border transfer of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) funds.

Facing the 61-page complaint for malversation through conspiracy are Aquino, former Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Florencio Abad, former Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Emilio Abaya, former Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mar Roxas, Senators Franklin Drilon and Antonio Trillanes IV, former DBM Undersecretary Mario Relampagos, and Director Yolanda Doblon, among many others.

The Truth and Justice Coalition, headed by its President Greco Belgica, said that the complaint for violation of Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code was for the three tranches of cross-border DAP releases to senators and congressmen amounting to P17,310,194,000.

The 274 complaints for malversation are for the 139 congressmen and 21 senators who received the illegal cross-border transfer for the first tranche as well as the 95 congressmen and 19 senators for the second tranche.

Belgica explained that the cross-border transfer was a “blatant violation” of the constitution, especially since the lawmakers used these funds to impeach and convict former Chief Justice Renato Corona instead of its intended public purpose.

To prove his point, Belgica presented a timeline when the releases were made. The day after the Hacienda Luisita cases were decided with finality by the Supreme Court, 70 congressmen received P10 million each from the DAP funds.

From October 25 to December 8, 2011, or four days before the impeachment of Corona, a total of 124 officials received DAP funds totalling to P1,565,204,474.

Then on December 13, the Articles of Impeachment were delivered to the Senate. That same day, P7,322,913,000 worth of Special Allotment Release Orders (SAROs) from the DAP were released to 11 senators. The total DAP fund released to 21 senators from November 16 to December 22, 2011 was P1,975,200,000.

“Dito mo makikita yung timeline, that proves na yung money (This is where you will see the timeline that proves that), the DAP Funds, was used to influence the vote of the senators and congressmen to impeach the chief justice,” Belgica said.

“It was for political gain and control,” he stressed.

In the complaint, Aquino, Abad, Roxas, Relampagos, Abaya and Drilon were faulted for lobbying for the impeachment of Corona.

As for Trillanes, who also voted in favor of Corona’s impeachment, he was singled out for his amnesty grant on October 11, 2010 and the receipt of P10 million and P50 million DAP for “ghost projects.” One such project that was specified was the construction of a classroom for the Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce (FCCC). According to the complaint, the project was not listed in the FCCC website.

“The cross-border transfer to the legislators was to influence them in ousting the Chief Justice. It was the clear criminal intent to use public funds not for the purpose they were intended by the legislature but for their own selfish and individual interests,” the complaint read.