• Former President Aquino and Budget secretary Butch Abad is facing technical malversation and usurpation of power raps
  • The complaint was filed by a group of activists before the Office of the Ombudsman
  • The group also want Aquino and Abad charged with graft and corruption

MANILA, Philippines – Former President Benigno Aquino and his Budget secretary, Florencio ‘Butch’ Abad, is facing technical malversation and usurpation of power complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman.

The cases were filed on Friday, July 8, by Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) chairman Dante Jimenez, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Secretary General Renato Reyes against Aquino and Abad over the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) which has been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

DAP is a scheme devised by the Aquino administration, which is essentially a program that allocates “special” budget to hasten or accelerate government projects without going through the legislative scrutiny and approval.

In a statement to the media, Zarate said Aquino and Abad should be held liable for technical malversation and usurpation of legislative powers. He also recommended that the two be charged with graft and corruption

“The DAP was nothing more than the presidential pork barrel taken from forced savings then realigned for pet projects of the President,” said the lawmaker. “It was not a stimulus program as many of the projects approved by Aquino had nothing to do with stimulating the economy.”

In September last year, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales revealed that the anti-graft body’s investigation of DAP is still on-going to determine the role of Aquino and Abad in implementing the controversial and now outlawed economic stimulus fund.

Last month, both Aquino and Abad expressed their readiness to face the charges once both of them stepped down from office.

“The President and I have analyzed DAP up to its tiniest detail and we are prepared for any case arising out of it,” Abad reiterated; further arguing that there is no bad faith on their part in as far as implementing the program is concerned, and that the Supreme Court itself has declared that DAP benefited the economy and the country when it supposedly accelerated economic growth in 2012 and 2013.