Press Release
January 22, 2013

Manifestation of Senator Pia S. Cayetano in response to the MOOE issue

I am making this manifestation in connection with statements made both in media and on the Senate floor.

It was just before Christmas that I received a P250,000 check. It was my staff who noticed that said check came from the office of the Senate President. I could not assume that this was MOOE because that is usually given by way of a check from the Senate of the Philippines and not the office of the Senate President. Since I did not know what it was for, I did not deposit it.

Come January, I was out of town when my staff learned that the year-end MOOE, which was the subject of a December 5, 2012 and December 10, 2012 memoranda issued by the office of the Senate President authorizing the release of additional MOOE to all senators, was in fact released to all the senators, except for four of us.

'MOOE' stands for maintenance and other operating expenses. For the two above-mentioned memoranda, the additional MOOE was supposed to be released to all senators' offices. But it came as a complete surprise to me to hear that I was excluded. In fact to this day, I do not know the reason why. I can only surmise that because I did not back down on the RH law and I pushed for a stronger sin tax law, I have displeased his Honor, the Senate President, who has been very vocal against these bills.

Out of courtesy and respect for the Senate President, I did not comment when my humble Christmas gift was returned. The same goes with this issue on the MOOE.

It saddens me that in my desire to be respectful to the Senate President, and not make public statements before inquiring from him or the staff-in-charge, the Senate President prefers to impute malice upon my silence. Well sir, here is my explanation.

A press release of the Senate President's office dated 9 January 2013, which I quote, states:

"I stand by the exercise of my sole discretion not to authorize any further releases of additional MOOE last December to the 4 Senators."

I humbly ask, why was I excluded? I do not know the reason why. Am I being penalized for speaking my mind and for pushing for legislation that is contrary to the views of the Senate leadership?

I cannot apologize for the stand I have taken on the RH and sin tax laws. And if this is the price I have pay to fight for the things I believe in, then I will accept the imputations that come with my job.

As for the P250,000 check from the office of the Senate President, I will turn it over to the DSWD for their programs for the homeless, abused and abandoned children.

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