MANILA, Philippines- Senator Antonio Trillanes IV denied reports that he was the top spender in 2011 in the Senate based on a Commission on Audit (COA) report.
“The COA report is only partial, the expenses of the oversight committees are not included,” Trillanes told reporters Monday.
He spent a total of P54.96 million in 2011, the report said. Almost half or P27.62 million was spent for office operations, P16.76 million for his staff, P6.74 million for maintenance and other operating expenses, P77,701 for capital outlay.
He said that his office had the highest expenses in the Senate because he employs at least 40 people in his staff, at least 20 more than the other senators’ offices.
Trillanes said that he had filled all of the positions provided for in the law, unlike other Senators who have unfilled positions in their offices.
The budget for the unfilled positions of other senators would be realigned as MOOE, he said.
He said that if the expenditures of the oversight committees would be included in the COA report, he would actually be listed at the bottom of the list because he only has one oversight committee with a budget of P15 million for 2013.
“If the oversight committees are included in the COA reports, I’m sure I will be the lowest [spender],” Trillanes said.
He said that he was consistently at the top of the COA’s list of highest spenders because of his many employees and the non-inclusion of the expenses of oversight committees.
Trillanes said that there were no anomalous transactions and he does not have any ghost employees in his office.
When asked if the practice of other senators to realign the budget for unfilled positions was prone to abuse, he said yes because it was in the discretion of the senator how that will be spent and that it only required a certification to be liquidated.
He said he would want to prohibit the realignment of funds into MOOE so as to prevent possible abuse in the expenditures of the Senate.