Arroyo, 44 others owe PAF P70M for aircraft rentalBy Cynthia D. Balana
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Audit (COA) is pressing the Philippine Air Force (PAF) to collect over P70 million from 45 individuals and government agencies that include then Sen. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for the use of its aircraft and golf course from January to April 1994.
In its 2012 audit report on the PAF that was released on Sept. 13, the COA cited its 2009 ruling and the directive of then Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief Lt. Gen. Oscar H. Rabena to charge fees to all public officials and private persons for use of PAF aircraft.
The COA report noted that the PAF accounting department had made attempts to collect payments from those who took PAF aircraft, but the billing notices have either been disputed or ignored.
“The billings were ignored and disregarded citing various reasons for not paying their bills, such as erroneous billings, overbillings and their belief that they were entitled to free rides to facilitate official trips,” the Air Force Accounting Center (Afac) explained.
Afac said some legislators also complained to then President Fidel Ramos, which was reportedly the reason why billing for nonmilitary trips was stopped.
A list released by COA showed 45 individuals, including some who have since died, have outstanding obligations with the PAF for unpaid travel hours on its aircraft.
The biggest unpaid bills belonged to Assistant Secretary Honorio T. Cagampan, P6.65 million; Executive Director Danilo Corpuz of the Philippine Convention and Visitors Corp., P3.12 million; former Sen. Nikki Coseteng, P2.64 million; Muntinlupa City Rep. Rodolfo Biazon, P1.702 million; former Sen. Orlando Mercado, P1.05 million; former Sen. Ernesto Maceda, P0.934 million;
Former Philippine Airlines vice president Jimmy Chua, P0.811 million; former Batanes Rep. Enrique Lizardo, P0.522 million; former Local Government Secretary Rafael Alunan III, P0.385 million; and former Agrarian Reform Secretary Ernesto Garilao and former Apayao Rep. Elias Bulut, both with P0.312 million.
Also on the list are then Sen. Gloria Arroyo, P184,239; former Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr., P154,200; former Sen. Richard Gordon, P119,787; former Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Alma de Leon, P261,787; and former Senators Leticia Shahani, P100,130; Edgardo Angara, P65,085; Heherson Alvarez, P60,078; Raul Roco, P40,052; and Santanina Rasul, P20,026.
On the unpaid electricity and water bills at the Villamor Air Base Golf Club (VABGC), the COA said the PAF should cut off electricity and water service connections of the Villamor Air Base Golf Club for nonpayment of over P26 million of electric and water bills that have piled up over the years.
The COA told the PAF to strictly implement policies and procedures on light and water services, which requires the base commander to “disconnect consumers who fail to pay their account within 30 days from date of billing.”