COA says MOOE not a discretionary fund



The Commission on Audit (COA) on Wednesday said that the maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) allocation was not a discretionary fund and could not be used for purposes not specified under the General Appropriations Act (GAA).

COA Chairperson Grace Pulido-Tan issued this statement in reply to a letter from Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago dated Jan. 10, questioning Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile’s use and realignment of the Senate savings as additional MOOE.

Section 63 of the GAA provides that the MOOE appropriation in the Senate may only be used for general administration and support, legislative services and operational requirements of 35 congressional commissions and oversight committees listed in the GAA, Tan said.

“Per type of expenditure, the MOOE is specified in the GAA to be used for traveling, communication, repairs and maintenance, transportation and delivery, supplies and materials, rents, utility, training and scholarship, extraordinary and miscellaneous, taxes insurance premium and other fees, professional services, printing and binding, advertising, representation, subscription, and membership duties and contribution,” Tan explained.

Santiago questioned Enrile’s release in two tranches of a total of P2.22 million each to 18 senators in November and December last year. Santiago, along with Senators Alan Peter and his sister Pia Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes IV, did not get the same amount. The four senators received  P600,000 each in November but not the P1.6 million given to each of the other 18 senators in December last year.

“Should not COA enumerate what savings are valid, so as to prevent heads of offices from fusing to incur necessary expenses in order to produce savings that will be distributed among themselves at year’s end?” Santiago asked Tan.

“If an office always claims to have savings at yearend, should not the COA resident auditor be duty-bound to recommend that the next year’s appropriations for the next item be reduced?” she further asked.

Santiago said COA must enumerate which purposes are valid to prevent abuse of the savings.

Tan said Section 53 of the GAA provides that the President, the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Supreme Court Chief Justice, the heads of constitutional commissions enjoying fiscal autonomy, and the Ombudsman are authorized to augment any item in the GAA from the savings in other items of their respective appropriations.


‘Savings’ defined

“Savings” is defined by Congress itself as referring to a “portion or balance of any appropriation in the GAA free from  any obligation or encumbrance which are still available after the completion or final discontinuance of  the work, activity, or purpose for which the appropriation is authorized,” she said.

“Considering that the law itself allows augmentation from savings and realignment of appropriations, we do not inquire into whether savings are deliberately being generated for such purposes,” Tan said.

She stressed that COA’s duty was to examine, audit and validate whether the augmentation was in fact sourced from savings; whether the requirements of law and applicable rules and regulations had been complied with in making the augmentation; and whether such additional MOOE went to the purpose specified in the GAA.

On the validity of additional MOOE at yearend, Tan said the GAA did not specify when the Senate President can or should exercise the authority “to augment any item in the GAA… from any savings in other items of the Senate’s appropriations” nor did it prescribe  amounts or formula.

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  • DonQuixoteDeRizal

    Go for it PDI. Don’t stop the news until we settle this 1.6 million peso question (or corruption) and return it public funds.

    This is for the Filipinos not for the senators.

  • Weder-Weder Lang

    01. Alan Peter Cayetano raised a good point. The total MOOE budget of the senate for 2012 was P1.5 billion pesos. Saan napunta yung iba?

    02. COA Chair Grace Pulido-Tan only disclosed Senator Santiago’s MOOE which amounts to P15 million. But how much did the other 22 senators get?

    03. If Enrile has absolute discretion over the P500 million (out of P1.5 billion) MOOE, how did he allocate it? What was his basis? We ask because this is taxpayers’ money.

  • goldilock

    There should be a saving account for every major branches of Government. Executive, Judiciary and Legislative.

    A saving account could tell if the department is corrupt or not.

    No savings = corrupt.
    Lot of savings = not corrupt.

    • ed_nique

      i disagree with your premise that:

      no savings = corrupt
      lot of savings = not corrupt

      the budget alloted to a government office/agency undergoes stages before it is approved. it starts with the target set by the agency for the coming fiscal year and how it is to be achieved. this includes personnel complement, materials, equipments and others. The agency then prepares it’s budget proposal to congress for review and approval.

      a well studied budget proposal means that the agency involved really understands what they hope to achieve and how they will go about to achieve this.

      therefore, if an agency achieves this goal and spends it’s budget to the last centavo, i do not see how you can call it corrupt.

      if the agency had a surplus/savings but was unable to meet its goal, i consider this agency incompetent.

      if the agency met it’s goal but had a surplus, it may mean that they overestimated their needs, and wasted funds which could have been alloted to another agency.

      but, if the agency met it’s goal but had a surplus because they found ways to save then that is money well spent and i wouldn’t mind if they a little bonus for their effort.

      as you can see, savings is not a sure sign that there is no corruption. in fact, agencies purposely cut expenditures so that they can report savings and use this as additional christmas gift at the end of the fiscal year.

  • Bansot

    Commissioner Tan, Senate President Enrile said in his own words that he distributed some portion of his office savings as gifts to his collegues or fellow crocoditles !! Which section of the GAA allows the Senate President to discretionarily disburse these savings as “GIFTS”??? This is the simple question we ordinary citizens would like to know…

  • al gero


  • Htee

    Yan ang tamang sagot….
    Simple answer to a simple question….

    Oh, ma’am miriam, ikaw na ang bahala sa susunod na hakbang, gusto rin yata tumulong si alan….double barrel na ang shotgun natin….plus iyakan pa ni pia….tapos na sila.

    Pero magingat kayo kay trilala….baka mag backdoor uli yan….tapos din tayong lahat.

    • magiting78

      Hnd cla uubra ki Pink Lacson..pag hnd cla kinaya sa bunganga…kontkin lng c Michael Rey Aquino para maitumba cla…lolz

  • farmerpo

     ‘“Should not COA enumerate what savings are valid, so as to prevent heads
    of offices from fusing to incur necessary expenses in order to produce
    savings that will be distributed among themselves at year’s end?”
    Santiago asked Tan.’

    Rule are intentionally vague so that there is a lot of room to maneuver.  Di ba Senator.?  It applies to all government offices where MONEY is no object.

     As in

    COA: Ma’am. Pupunta po ang audit team namin diyan. SOP lang po.
    Head of Office: okay. See you later.

    Di ba?

  • Rovingmoron

    Yun naman pala. It is stipulated in the GAA. Perhaps, what Congress can do is to rectify this law in order to favor public interests. What happens is that the GAA appears to be favoring the whims and caprices of the lawmakers. The public may not know where they will use the funds.

    • Loggnat

      That’s where the FOI bill will be useful, the expenses and how the pork barrel is utilized will be public documents and those that does not maintain proper documentations can be blamed for being incompetent and should be a good enough reason for full auditing by COA.

    • ed_nique

      you said it … imagine millions of pesos and all they to do to liquidate this is a certification.

  • Jef

    COA says MOOE is not discretionary fund…but JPE says gusto ko happy kayo basta kakampi ko….SHAME ON YOUR SELF…wag mong ilihis ang issue pati patay dinadamay mo AMOY LUPA pero kumakana sa loob ng opisina….

  • zeroko

    Grace Tan is a liar. She is trying to cover up the miss deed of JPE. How can she say that the 1.6 million pesos is part of MOOE  when it was given after the years end in which another budget should have covered up the 2013 expenses?

    • ed_nique

      the article is based on COA letter-reply to sen. santiago.

      sen. santiago wanted to clarify with COA, among other issues, whether the senate president has the authority to realign savings to MOOE.

      sen. santiago refers to the additional funds as MOOE and such funds were released to the senators as additonal MOOE.

      whatever this additional fund released in December was for, it was released as additional MOOE.

  • Fred

    Wala talagang magagawa ang COA (baka takot lang?).
    Kaya tama si Alan na kailangan ang mag-iimbistiga ay third-party na outsider!
    JPE’s swan song …….My Way.

  • captainramius

    Matagal na racket na sa govt yan. Bloated ang budget or hindi e fill up vacancies and distribute these savings among themselves rather than return to treasury . Just look at the supreme court of the AFP….dyan galing ang famous na ‘pabaon’ ng mga retired generals. Yon pala practice din ng mga senadors sus

  • JV Velarde

    Sen. Enrile & Attorney Gigi Reyes should be both disbarred from the practice of law.

    On August 1, 2007, the Philippine Supreme Court (in a 9-page per curiam decision) disbarred Nolie Eala because of his “grossly immoral conduct” that stemmed from an extramarital affair. Eala violated Canons 1 and 7 of Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility because of his affair with a married woman named Irene Moje prior to the judicial declaration that her marriage was null and void. On September 20, 2007, the Supreme Court of the Philippines dismissed with finality Eala’s motion for reconsideration, ruling that, in engaging in an affair, Eala ridiculed marriage as mere “scrap of paper”, and violated his lawyer’s oath to uphold the Constitution and the laws.

    • ApoLapullapu

      Why don’t you file a Petition for Disbarment against Reyes and Enrile if you think you have sufficient legal basis to substantiate your Petition?  It is as  simple as that.

      • JV Velarde

        i would love to do that…. but someone has to get me a plane & make a request for DFA protocol personnel to escort me when I get there. then i most probably will be needing gigi’s signature for advance cash, courtesy of the philippine senate(people’s fund), to pay for the filing fees.

    • JLFS

      Does it matter if they are disbarred? they are not practicing law but the opposite.

  • ApoLapullapu

    Truth is Santiago and Cayetano would not have squealed or squeaked if they got the same additional MOOE as the other Senators.  Now, it is good that the transactions of all the Senators will be audited to see if they spent their MOOE for strictly public purposes.  Or will Cayetano and Santiago keep on talking when their transactions are audited?


    JPE mini-maintain tatlo. 1-family nya, 2-senado, 3-Gigi G. Reyes. pero peoples money. 

  • T.

    If COA treats the senate disbursements from MOOE funds as pubic funds, not as discretionary,funds, why is COA not imploying the usual audit procedures and audit reports in its audit of Senate funds?  The media should ask from Senate accounting office for copy of the COA audit report for FY 2011 and release it to public so it will know that Sen. Cayetano’s call for the audit from a private accounting firm with no ties with any government agency is well taken.

  • Chloroform

    MOOE is not discretionary. This is confusing. Then why are some senators making statements  that they will give the cash gifts to “storm victims and DSWD”. Is the MOOE and cash gift in question the same? Is it legal for senate president to distribute “savings” for a “blank” purpose to the senators?

    • pilarpilapis

      That’s true. It’s not discretionary. Dapat may specific purpose, pero ang problema hindi na kailangan ng vouchers kahit MOOE. Ok na kahit certification, they don’t need to show receipts!

  • kimkim1226

    COA are you afraid to this is your dutybound to strickly audit if their is no illegal use of peoples money if not you stepdown and give to somebody else who is capable and not corrupt.

  • pabulaka

    How can COA audit the Senate when their budget is approved by it? Auditing should be given to an independent auditing office.

  • Jane Tan

    It doesn’t matter if it can only be used for those purposes. The receiving senators can simply cut-back expenses on other areas to suit their needs.

    All I really see here is campaign money to Enrile’s supporters.

  • mariobig

    paano maaaudit ng coa yan ang senate  msimo ang nag coconfirm sa mga appointment ng coa commissioner at chairman…  yun isang coa commissioner menoz  nga di pa na confirm ng CA

  • mariobig

    commissioner Heidi Mendoza  di pa na confirm ng CA kaya di yan maaudit ng coa….

  • VicenteBoticol

    Senator Enrile and Atty Reyes are obviuosly are disrespecting the senate and the filipino people thru their CONJUGAL PLUNDER orf peoples tax money…..Enrile should now RESIGN!

    • sherlock101

       ala ferdie and meldie :)

  • pilarpilapis

    I think Alan Peter is correct, dapat magkaroon ng auditing by a private firm. Yun nga lang, pera nanaman ng bayan ang gagamitin. Sana may private firm na magvovolunteer ng services nila. With regard sa COA, halatang kumakapi sila kay Enrile. Sen. Miriam is asking for an inquiry tapos walang effort, ininterpret lang yung law. E pera ng bayan yun e. Kung gusto, maraming paraan. Kung ayaw, maraming dahilan!

  • kilabot

    hindi mangyayari ang audit. 
    si noykapon ay kasamang tumanggap ng extra mooe nung sya ay senador; 
    kaya di sya umiimik sa bangayan ng senado; 
    at di gagalaw ang coa baka madamay ang primus inter locos.

  • Irin Tuon

    Now, enters the  CORRUPT OFFICIAL AUDITORS and do the COVER UP…
    Haaayyy bwisit na buhay sa Pinas….
    Anybody wants to join for CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE?


      How to do Internet disobedience ? I want to make it as new style of begining….. teach me ….teach me …… wwaaahhhhhh……

  • graciano82

    COA OIC Tan explained the tributaries of the MOOE as defined above and it’s glaring to note that Christmas gift or bonus isn’t included. So  non inclusion denotes juggling of fund or technical malversation. It’s imperative then for TAN to rule at once on the lawfulness of the usage of the fund since this issue had been blown out of proportion to drag the integrity of the senate and the senators squabbling for the manna that a god like Enrile had doled to the senators motivated by his caprice.

  • boi skater

    So much money are being thrown around with no proper accounting or transparecy and COA and the auditors are useless and inept, if not corrupt.

  • Irin Tuon

    Kick out that COA – Conspirator of Anomalies and Corrupt Official Auditors, 


    masyadong tiwala c jpe kay gigi. jpe and senators allowed to run the affairs of senate. when gigi turned personal against alan c, “na lubot c alan, pia, sonny ug miriam” . pero karma ang balik sa partnership ni jpe/gigi. A TRIUMPH FOR UNA.

  • boy

    Namana ni GIGI ang style ni Imelda, inander si Manong…hahahaha.  Yan ang nature ng mga KABIT, mas matapang pa sa LEGAL na asawa. hahahaha.

  • boy

    Skeleton in their RESPECTIVE closets scattered all over the Senate by the HONORABLES. Parang mga TAMBAY lang mag away ah. hahahahah.

    • magiting78

      Mas maganda pa mag away yung tambay wala ng sat-sat suntukan agad…hehehehe

  • wakats

    The savings used by enrile to distribute uneven cash gifts came mostly from the vacancy created by the election of former senator PNoy to Malacanang, hence a bigger portion came from salaries under PERSONAL SERVICES account.

    Sec. Abad said that christmas bonus and other expenses must be clarified but if they’re for the usual overhead expenses of the senate, enrile has the discretion to realign the savings.  It’s clear that Abad is implying that if the intended savings will be used for additional cash gifts – which fall under PERSONAL SERVICES, enrile is not authorized to realign them without consent from the approving authorities – which is congress.

    Queen mirriam must direct her query to the budget department to put a closure to this boring subject…


  • LegalJustice

    It is now time to replace: COA Chairperson Grace Pulido-Tan.

    • marionics

      constitutional commission yan kaya impeachment ang kelangan diyan in case you don’t know. this means house impeachment and then trial in senate. how do you think this will go? he he

      • magiting78

        Suntok sa buwan….hehehe

  • Harry

    The commissioner is sidestepping Miriam’s questions. As the
    head of the government auditing agency, she should speak with authority and not
    in ambiguous terms.


  • Jocken Dano

    the big question here is this ” WOULD SENATORS ENUMERATE ALL THOSE LIQUIDATIONS MADE BY THIS MONEY ?? kung hindi eh useless din, hindi natin alam kung saan napunta ang pera na yan. tama dyan si madam Miriam. dapat may check and balances. . . .

  • Ivlivs

    The Supreme Court appropriates funds for new judges and personnel, does not spend the appropriation during the year and calls this savings for distribution as bonuses to judges and etc at year end. The Senate appropriates funds for the office of a senator who was elected president back in 2010, realigns the appropriation and calls this savings for distribution as additional mooe or “cash gifts” to senators at year end. The constitution also allows this gimmick to the President and the heads of constitutional commissions. Lawyers call this realignment legal even if the constitution does not define what “savings” is and, in the case of the senate, appropriating funds for a vacant office and, because not spent, calling this “savings” as defined by congress is kind of a stretch.


      The SC did not hire lawyers to fill up post long vacant. In doing so, a so called ‘savings’ were generated to spend according to weather temperature of the CJ. When the SC fund allocation was slashed due to blatant corruption through magic of “savings”. Mirriam the mouth cried out in protest. When Mirriam was enjoying to the max. the magic of “savings”, her mouth is closed like see nothing , hear nothing, do nothing monkey. Mirriam is “Lunar mind” creature.

      • dave


  • doublecross

    pera ng bayan yan, kht anong gawin ninyo..mali ang ginawa ni senator enrile.

    • dave

      oh, really? panong mali, eh kung over the years na ginagawa nila yun ngayon ka ba magrereklamo?

  • Philcruz

    Why don’t I like this COA Chief? Ang labo magsalita. Where did she come from?  Who is her political or business boss, by the way?

    • Eric J.

       I agree with you. Parang may pinoprotektahan ito kung magrason. It seems that the COA is the one following the rules and not the other way around.

    • dave

      no less than the President, i supposed…

  • Jeff Castillo

    Narinig ko sa News sa TV, according to COA, ang ina-audit lang nila sa liquidation report ng mga senators ay ung mga “Certificate of Expenses” na galing mismo sa mga sendaor, at hindi hinahanap ng COA ang mga official receipts! Anak ng tokwa, ang dali naman pala mag-liquidate hindi  na kailangan ng resibo, certification lang ng senador pwede na sa kanila. No wonder ang dali magbulsa ng pera!!!!! Baguhin ang sistema nyo COA! Dito nga sa private company namin, hanganng sa kahuli-hulihang sentimo kailangan eksakto sa resibo pag nag-liquidate ng expenses!! eh mga milyones at bilyones ng mga senador, di kailangan ng resibo (OR)????

  • dave

    Ang dami palang pera sa kabang yaman ng bansa, bakit di na lang baguhin ang tax law para maging 10% na lang ang ikakaltas sa mga sahod ng manggagawa? Mas pabor pa yun sa amin, kahit magaaway away kayo sa pera sa Senado, at least gumagaan ang pakiramdam ng mga tao.

  • Kiro Nazakato

    Kung hindi discretionary fund ang mooe, dapat subject sya sa liquidation. Imagine, mere certification daw, liquidated na_ meaning walang accounting, walang resibo. Basta sinabi ni enrile, ok na yan, sasabibihin ni grace pulido,, ok yan. no question asked. terible.Pera ng taong bayan, nagpapasasa mga pulitiko. Sadlak bayan sa kahirapan taong bayan, tapos nagpapasasa sa kabayan itong mga traditional politicians na ito. Pnoy, mahal naming Pangulo, pls do something about this. please fix this mess,

  • jbrand


  • simondj

    Dapat siguro imungkahi  natin sa senado iyong mga kulilat sa election (8 to 10 slots) hindi pwede maging senate president. To reflect the sentiment of the people. The point is, kaya ayaw ng taong bayan diyan kasi at malamang korapt o may atraso sa taong bayan.  Malamang din ang slot 8 to 12 ay bunga lang ng DAGDAG BAWAS, ika nga nila ay PALUSOT, so bakit gagawin ninyong senate president.

    • catalansbarce

      If so…, sina Bong Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada, Lito Lapid…., ang
      puwede maging Senate President?

  • Komen To

    Anak ng COA, how can you honestly audit without official receipts? Mr. Fariñas, I want to hear your famous word, let me borrow it….PALUSOT

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