Hold Aquino and his co-conspirators accountable

Editorial
Ang Bayan
July 08, 2014


The Supreme Court yielded to the Filipino people's surging resistance to the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) when it declared that using the DAP is violative of the Philippine constitution.

Although the decision was fraught with loopholes to enable Benigno Aquino III to evade criminal liability, it could not but underscore the fact that public funds have been used by the ruling regime according to whim and to further its political interests.

The decision will spur the people's struggle to completely abolish the pork barrel system and hold the Aquino regime to account for plunder and corruption.

The DAP is a system invented by the Aquino regime that accords Aquino the privilege of distributing billions of pesos in public funds at his own discretion.

The DAP system was begun under the leadership of Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Sec. Florencio "Butch" Abad in 2011. All DBM memorandum orders that released up to `177 billion were signed and approved by Aquino.

Various sectors are demanding a detailed accounting of how DAP was spent. Aquino claims that it was used for "economic development projects." In fact, Aquino allotted it to his minions' projects to ensure their loyalty and support.

The Supreme Court decision is designed to absolve Aquino since only specific portions have been declared unconstitutional. Moreover, none of those involved in the fund malversations of the past under DAP will be held liable. This provides Aquino with the means of evading possible impeachment in the Lower House of Congress. Why, indeed, would he be impeached by the very beneficiaries of DAP and PDAF?

Nonetheless, filing and impeachment case in the Lower House will help identify and isolate Aquino allies in Congress who have long been benefiting from the DAP and PDAF and refuse to hold the Pork Barrel King accountable for his crimes.

The Supreme Court decision and the people's growing clamor to hold Aquino to account and oust him will further push the ruling Aquino clique to pull all stops to remain in power beyond 2016 in order to evade criminal prosecution. Thus, it is a must to go all-out in exposing, isolating and ousting the Aquino regime before the 2016 elections.

One effective means of molding public opinion in order to completely isolate the Aquino clique is to hold widespread people's assemblies in communities, schools, factories, offices, churches and many other areas where the public could air its grievances against the Aquino regime and the latter's lies under the illusory "righteous road" and "good governance" slogans.

In these assemblies, the Filipino people can muster their anger not only against the Aquino regime's corruption, but against its accountability for widespread unemployment, low wages, rising prices of food and medicine, landlessness and mounting cases of landgrabbing.

The regime must likewise answer for its policies that have given rise to tuition fee hikes in public and private schools, criminal negligence of millions of calamity victims, the relentless export of migrant labor, intensifying military abuses and all-out war against the peasant masses. The Aquino regime must also be prosecuted for treason in having signed the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) and allowing all-out US military presence in the country.