Press Release
July 15, 2013


Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago said that the 2011 COA Report shows that then Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile received the biggest amount of P118M from Senate funds for alleged office expenses.

He was followed by other Senate officers who received the following for alleged office expenses: Jinggoy Estrada, P 62M; Vicente Sotto III, 56M; and Alan Peter Cayetano, P 55M.

The rest of the senators received Senate funds for alleged office expenses in descending order, as follows: Antonio Trillanes IV, P 54.9M; Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., P 49M; Ramon Revilla, Jr., P 49M; Francis Escudero, P 48.7M; Gregorio Honasan, P 47M; Francis Pangilinan, P 46M; Loren Legarda, P 44M; Aquilino Pimentel, P 43.9M; Manuel Lapid, P 43.5M; Ralph Recto, P 42M; Pia Cayetano, P 42M; Edgardo Angara, P 41.7; Teofisto Guingona, Jr., P 41.5M; Miriam Defensor Santiago, P 41M; Manny Villar, P 40M; Sergio Osmena, P 37.6M; Panfilo Lacson, P 37M; Franklin Drilon, P34.9M; and Joker Arroyo, P 31.8M.

Santiago disclosed the amounts as guest speaker in the opening ceremonies of the 2013 National Accountancy Week celebration sponsored by the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants held at the Intercontinental Hotel, Makati City.

Santiago said that the "deep dark secret" is that Enrile, as Senate President, had power of control over more than 50% of all Senate funds.

She called on Enrile to liquidate and justify his use of these funds for every year that he was the Senate President.

Santiago said that although Senate tradition gives the power of discretion to the Senate President for distributing additional funds among the senators, the Senate President should exercise this discretion according to law.

"A whimsical exercise of the power constitutes a grave abuse of discretion and raises a justiciable issue before the Supreme Court," said Santiago.

Santiago also said that every senator receives a personal income of some P 43M per annum. But the Senate officers, in addition to P43M per annum, received additional income, as follows:

Juan Ponce Enrile, P 71.7M, or 166.30% more; Jinggoy Estrada, P 9.3M, or 21.69% more; Vicente Sotto III, P 9.3M, or 21.64% more; and Alan Peter Cayetano, P 10.2M, or 23.67% more.

Santiago made certain recommendations to prevent and stop corruption in the use of Senate funds, as follows:

First, Santiago recommended that the power of discretion over 50% of the total Senate budget should be taken away from the Senate President and given to the Senate as a whole.

Second, Santiago recommended that since a senator's gross annual salary is only some P 1 million, the additional expenses in the bicameral oversight committees should not be more than the annual gross salary. At present, the so-called extraordinary and miscellaneous expenses of oversight committees is more than double the senator's salaries of P 90,000 a month, with take-home pay of P 60,000 a month.

Third, Santiago recommended that the new Senate should reform the system of liquidating certain amounts by mere certification, but starting this Congress, should require liquidation by receipts and other supporting documents.

But Santiago reserved the full strength of her speech behind her recommendation to remove from the Senate President the discretion to release additional MOOE for each senator.

"Immediate past experience shows us that the amount known as 'Additional MOOE' (Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses) becomes the personal pork barrel of the Senate President. In the hands of a corrupt Senate President, this discretionary power over additional MOOE becomes a tool not only of corruption, but also of oppression and of ugly politics," she said.

She said that she would deliver privilege speeches when Congress open and if she is medically fit, against Sen. Enrile and former Sen. Panfilo Lacson who, she said "conspired to rain personal insults against her."

Enrile and Lacson teamed up to denounce Santiago because she revealed to media that Enrile, claiming discretionary power, gave Christmas gifts of P 1.6M to all senators, except four senators, including her.

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