MANILA, Philippines –The budget for the maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOEs) of the Senate has allegedly doubled when Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile assumed his post in 2008, Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano revealed on Wednesday.
From P750 million in 2008, Cayetano said the MOOEs of the Senate went up to P1.5 billion.
“I realized that the budget doubled from the time Senate Enrile became Senate President. Siguro dapat lang dahil very productive at madami tayong trabaho (Maybe it should be because we have been very productive and we had so much work). Pero makikita po ninyo (But you can see), from around P750 million, we went up to around P1.5 billion,” Cayetano said in a privilege speech, citing his own research.
“ I did my own math, Mr. President. ‘Yung P470 million, sa mga oversight committee ‘yon, ang nagli-liquidate ‘nun ay mga chairman (The P470 million that’s for the oversight committee and it’s the chairman who’s liquidating it) . My question now, Mr. President, paano po nili-liquidate itong P600 million? (How the P600 million is being liquidated?) I was told that a big part of this is being liquidated by certification.”
“ I was told [that for] personal services… [if there are] savings, you can realign it.. And you can also justify its use by mere certification,” he further said.
Responding to this, Enrile took the floor to answer Cayetano’s queries.
The Senate leader said the P600 million that Cayetano must have been referring to was the P589, 685,000 that was allotted for the MOOEs of the Senate Secretariat last year.
Of the P2.853 billion budget of the Senate in 2012, Enrile said P589,685,000 was allotted for the MOOEs of the Senate Secretariat; P1.294 billion for personal services; P430 million for senators’ MOOEs; P4 million for senators’ capital outlay; P390 million for the Secretariat’s capital outlay while the remaining P494 million was allotted for oversight committees.
The P589, 685,000 MOOEs that Cayetano was questioning, he said, was allotted on the following items:
Traveling expenses – P189, 675,000
Training expense – P7.726M
Office supplies expenses amounting – P35.277M
Gasoline and oil – P14.518M
Utility expenses amounting — P51.474M
Communication expenses — P6M
Membership dues and contributions – P1.947M
Advertising expenses – P816,000
Printing and binding expenses – P3.292M
Rent expenses – P124.999M
Representation expenses— P38.401M
Other professional services — P40.692M
Transportation and delivery expenses – P 482,000
Subscription expenses P4.420M
Repair and maintenance – P9.62M
Extraordinary expenses – P47.593M
Taxes duties and fees – P1.905M
Regarding the P250,000 that he gave to senators last December, Enrile reiterated that it did not come from his own pocket. He earlier said that the money came from the savings of his own office.
He also justified his decision to give a smaller amount of additional MOOEs to members of the opposition group since this has been the practice in the past.
Only four senators received a total of P850,000 – P600,000 additional MOOEs in November and another P250,000 Christmas gift in December 2012 – and they were Cayetano, his sister Pia Cayetano, Senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV.
The two Cayetanos and Trillanes belong to the minority group while Santiago is a known critic of the Senate leader.
Except for the four, all 18 senators received a total of P2.2 million MOOEs each in November and December 2012, aside from the P250,000 each given also in December.
Enrile recalled that when he was a member of the minority group, he did not also enjoy the same privileges being enjoyed by those allies of the administration. And this practice, he said, is being done now even at the House of Representatives.
He said he was standing by his decision to give a lesser budget for the minority members.