(Photo from Facebook | @presidentnoy)
QUEZON CITY â€” Former President Benigno Aquino III has been ordered by the Office of the Ombudsman to reply to a motion asking that he be reinstated as a respondent in cases filed over the discredited Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
The complainants, led by Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate, are asking the Ombudsman to reconsider its March 7 decision dropping the case against Aquino and approving charges of usurpation of legislative power only against former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad for issuing National Budget Circular No. 541, which authorized the withdrawal of unobligated allotments of government agencies to implement the P72-billion DAP.
The controversial disbursement program, which critics had dubbed Aquinoâ€™s â€śpresidential pork barrel,â€ť was essentially declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court along with the Priority Development Assistance Fund, or congressional pork.
The Ombudsman said Abad had â€śunlawfully encroachedâ€ť on Congressâ€™ powers by modifying the provisions of savings of the 2012 General Appropriations Act.
It noted that Article 239 of the Revised Penal Code punishes the offense with of prision correccional, or six months, and temporary special disqualification.
The motion for reconsideration asks that Aquino be charged with graft and malversation.
The special panel of investigators of the Ombudsman has given all parties to the DAP cases 15 days from notice to file their comments.