The scrooge says he and other senators are being unfairly tarred and feathered in the Santa Claus controversy.
Sen. Joker Arroyo was responding to a Philippine Daily Inquirer request for his reaction to the supposed “Christmas bonus” given by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and other money issues raised by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago. He stressed he was not speaking for the other senators.
On the annual P200-million pork barrel allocation: “I do not touch nor avail myself of the pork barrel so I wouldn’t know about kickbacks.”
On the P10 million to P30 million allotments for committees: “I am not the chair of any Senate committee or oversight committee and, therefore, I would not know how the finances of each committee are spent, except that I receive my corresponding gratuity as a member only.”
On the P2.2-million monthly office expenses: “I do not spend even half of that for my office expenses. What is not spent is retained in the general fund of the Senate. That is why for 20 straight years, starting when I was in the House of Representatives and continued in the Senate, I have earned the title ‘Scrooge of Congress’ for being the thriftiest, most frugal and tight-fisted legislator.”
On the supposed P1.6-million “Christmas bonus”: “My staff treated it just like any other MOOEs (maintenance and other operating expenditures) because the supporting voucher didn’t make any distinction from other MOOEs received from time to time.” Cathy C. Yamsuan