Philippine president rejects resignation of controversial gov’t official

Manila – Philippine President Benigno Aquino III said Friday that he did not accept the resignation of Budget Secretary Florencio Abad who is currently embroiled in a controversy involving the government’s economic stimulus package.

Aquino made the announcement during the presentation of the proposed 2015 budget in the presidential palace.

“(On Thursday), Secretary Abad gave me a letter tendering his resignation from the Cabinet. I have considered the same and I’ve decided not to accept his resignation,” he said.

The clamor for Abad’s resignation got stronger after the Supreme Court ruled that some parts the Philippine government’s economic stimulus package, dubbed as the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), was unconstitutional.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said the DAP is ” a stimulus package designed to fast-track public spending and push economic growth.”

Approved by Aquino in October 2011, funds for the DAP came from savings generated by the Philippine government during the year.

On July 1, the Supreme Court declared as unconstitutional National Budget Circular 541 and other related issuances which served as the legal bases for DAP.

Under the circular, Aquino authorized the withdrawal of unobligated allotments of agencies with low levels of obligations as of June 30, 2012, both for continuing and current allotments.

The Supreme Court also ruled that the funding of projects, activities and programs that were not covered by appropriation in the General Appropriations Act approved by Congress is unconstitutional.

Aquino, however, said that the stimulus package has benefited the country and resulted in faster implementation of key public infrastructure projects. Source: Xinhua