Press Release
October 25, 2008


Liberal President Sen. Mar Roxas on Saturday said Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Jesus Versoza has muddled further the "Euro general" controversy with his explanation that the 105,000 euros from retired PNP comptroller Deputy Director General Eliseo de La Paz in Moscow came from the PNP's intelligence funds.

Roxas said Versoza, having assumed his position as PNP chief only recently, should not allow himself to be used to cover up for De la Paz.

"The people are waiting for the PNP Chief to be a vanguard of the truth, not the protector of falsehood." he said.

"Itong pagpapaliwanag nila ay lalong lumabo ang isyu. Imbes na luminaw ay nadagdagan lang ang mga tanong (This explanation only muddled the picture further. Instead of clarifying it, the explanation only opened more questions)," the senator said.

Roxas branded Versoza's explanation as a "crude attempt to silence the Senate investigation" and proves his point on the "extremely cavalier attitude" of the PNP leadership on the misuse of public funds.

"Ganito ba sila bumili ng mga armas at intelligence equipment? Cash? Walang bidding? Ganito ba na ang mga mga bumibili ng mga mahalagang gamit ng PNP ay isang retiradong opisyal? (Is this how they buy arms and intelligence equipment? Cash? No bidding? Do they really allow a retired official to buy sensitive equipment?), Roxas asked.

"Lalo lang silang nababaon dito. Sa paggamit nila ng intelligence funds na dahilan para kay De la Paz ay isinasabit pa nila pati ang Pangulo (They are only burying themselves with this explanation. In using the excuse that De la Paz' money came from the intelligence funds, they have dragged the President into this mess)," Roxas said.

Roxas pointed out that regulations issued by the Commission on Audit required presidential approval of the use of all intelligence fund, as this fund is not subject to COA audit and can be looked into only by the Chairman of the COA itself.

"May kasabihan na sa bibig talaga nahuhuli ang isda. Kaya nanawagan ako kay General Versoza na huwag nang magpagamit sa mga nasa likod nitong isyu na ito at huwag nang mangdamay ng iba pa (We have a saying that the fish is caught by its mouth. That's why I'm calling on General Versoza not to allow himself to be used by those behind this mess and not to involve others anymore)," he said. -more-

He said this is prime reason why he and Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, chair of the Senate foreign relations committee investigating the issue, agreed to reject Versoza's request that an executive session be called in the next hearing of the Senate on the issue.

"I disagree with the request of PNP Chief Director General Jesus Versoza that we hold an executive session in the next hearing of the Senate on this controversy. Any and all information related to this case must be shown and be made known to the public. What is there to hide from the public when it concerns public funds and public time?" he stressed.

He said it was important that the public is duly informed of the circumstances surrounding the controversy involving De La Paz, who was held by Russian authorities for carrying 105,000 Euros (about P7 million) in the hand-carry bag of his wife on their trip back to the Philippines after attending an Interpol meeting in Moscow.

"This incident has severely affected public trust and confidence in the ability of the PNP to enforce the law, especially as it was committed by a high ranking police official in wanton disregard of the guidelines on the use of public funds and restrictions on travel of government officials," he said.

Versoza had written Roxas a letter dated October 24 requesting for an executive session in the next Senate hearing as "necessary because of the security implications of the circumstances surrounding the incident." Roxas said he would quiz Versoza, Police Superintendent Samuel Rodriguez, disbursing officer for the Directorate for Intelligence, and Police Senior Superintendent Tomas Rentoy, chief of the budget division of the PNP directorate for Comptrollership, who authorized the withdrawal of the funds from the PNP's intelligence fund.

He noted that Section 20 of the 2008 General Appropriations Act specifies that "no amount in this Act shall be released or disbursed for confidential and intelligence activities unless approved by the President of the Philippines or specifically identified and authorized as such confidential or intelligence fund in this Act."

Roxas likewise pointed out that the same provision mandates that "confidential and intelligence funds provided for in the budgets of departments, bureaus, offices or agencies of the national government, including amounts from savings authorized by special provisions to be used for intelligence and counter-intelligence activities, shall be released only upon approval of the President of the Philippines."

He also questioned Versoza's claim that De la Paz was authorized to purchase "intelligence equipment and similar products" as the retired PNP comptroller never headed the PNP Logistics Command and the PNP Intelligence Command.

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