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Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo got P98M advance before bowing out–COA


05:44 AM August 17th, 2011

By: Cynthia D. Balana, August 17th, 2011 05:44 AM

Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo got an advance of P98.6 million from the Presidential Social Fund (PSF) one month before stepping down from office last year.

This according to Commission on Audit (COA) chief Grace Pulido Tan who appeared at Tuesday’s House committee on appropriations hearing on the proposed COA budget for 2012.

Tan said the advance of P98.6 million, which was released on May 28, 2010, was discovered during an ongoing audit of the PSF. The fund by that time should have been left untouched for her successor, now President Benigno Aquino III.

Tan said the P98.6 million was part of a P345 million remittance by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) to the PSF.

She confirmed an earlier claim by Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares that vouchers for the disbursement of the P345 million to two congressional districts closely linked to Arroyo were issued but later cancelled.

“We have the same figures. We have found the [amount] remitted to the PSF and receipted by the PSF. Part of this, P98.6 million, was taken from the June 2010 PSF. May advance, inadvance na dun. Nagalaw din po (There was an advance, it was taken from that. It had been touched),” Tan said.

In a previous House hearing, Colmenares said the P345 million was intended for two “lucky” congressional districts—the second district of Pampanga then represented by Mikey Arroyo and the second district of Camarines Sur represented by Dato Arroyo. Both congressmen are sons of the then president.

Tan said the COA was following the trail of the P345 million.

She said its disbursement could have only come from Malacañang since it had received Pagcor’s remittance.

“That’s something we are in the process of auditing. 2010 na yan medyo nahuhuli pa po (It happened in 2010 and we’re running a little late),” she said.

At the same time, the COA announced that it was keeping its policy of pre-auditing government projects but only for some agencies like the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.

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