Who won? Plainly, the government won because the Court partially granted its motion for reconsideration by limiting personal liability only to the “authors” of the DAP, and only after other tribunals find evidence showing bad faith and culpability. Otherwise stated, the DAP decision cannot, by itself, be a source of liability.
Clearly, the above-quoted constitutional exception is quite difficult to comprehend. In fact, on March 5, 2013, the Court itself asked for the cross-border transfer of P100 million from the Department of Justice’s budget to the judiciary for the construction of the Malabon Hall of Justice. This request was, however, withdrawn on Dec. 23, 2013, after the petitions questioning the constitutionality of the DAP were filed.
This shows that even the keenest legal minds can misconstrue the exception. Hence, it is fair and reasonable that the doctrine of operative fact should validate past acts, and that everyone, including the “authors,” should be given the presumptions of innocence, good faith, and regularity in the performance of official duties.
Far from condemning it, the DAP, said the Court, “is a policy instrument that the Executive, by its own prerogative, may utilize to spur economic growth and development.” Moreover, unlike in the case involving the PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund), the Court did not find any public money malevolently flowing into private pockets, or to pseudo foundations, or to fake nongovernment organizations.
At bottom, I think it is reason, logic and fairness that really won.