SC dismisses petition to probe Aquino, others for DAP

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The high court denies the petitioners' request to require the Ombudsman and the Department of Justice to probe President Aquino and other executives on the controversial DAP and PDAF schemes.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The Supreme Court (SC) dismissed on Tuesday a petition asking the Ombudsman to probe those behind the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) initiated by the outgoing Aquino administration.

The justices ruled that the acts sought to by the petitioners from the respondents were not ministerial — but discretionary acts.

SC Spokesperson Theodore Te explained that the mandamus will be issued only (1) where there exists a clear, legal right to the act demanded; (2) respondent has the duty to perform the act because it is mandated by law; (3) respondent unlawfully neglects the performance of such duty required by law; (4) the act to be performed is ministerial, not discretionary; and (5) there is no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.

But the Court said none of these elements existed and "thus mandamus does not lie and petitioners are not entitled to the relief sought."

The petitioners, led by losing senatorial candidate Greco Belgica, asked the high court in August 2015 to direct the Ombudsman and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to probe and prosecute those behind the controversial fund spending mechanism.

In July 2014, the high court declared certain acts under the program unconstitutional.

Also read: Binay says DAP probe nothing but 'drama'

The justices said DAP, which was supposedly created to fast-track public spending, violated Section 25 (5), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution and the separation of powers of the executive and legislative branches of the government.

If warranted, petitioners also wanted the Ombudsman and DOJ to file an impeachment complaint against the President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III over DAP.

The said petition also asked SC to order Ombudsman and DOJ to pursue investigation and prosecution of other erring public officials in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or "pork barrel."

According to Belgica, it had been two years since the court declared PDAF unconstitutional, but the Ombudsman and the Justice department had yet to file cases against officials and personalities – save for those exposed by Benhur Luy.

Also read: Budget Sec. Abad slapped with plunder charge over DAP