Lacson: SAF ex-officials ‘forced’ to return P37-M allowances of troopers
Senator Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday said it appears that former Special Action Force (SAF) officials were only “forced” to return P37 million worth of allowances for SAF commandoes.
Lacson, who led an inquiry on the alleged illegal withholding of SAF’s additional subsistence allowance (ASA), said former SAF chief Benjamin Lusad and his budget officer Senior Superintendent Andre Dizon returned the fund after being threatened with charges at the Ombudsman.
“Kung walang threat na magfa-file sa Ombudsman, would they even think of returning or distributing? Mukhang hindi,” Lason told reporters in a chance interview.
A case was eventually filed at the Ombudsman against former SAF officials including Lusad and Dizon.
During the hearing, Lacson and his co-chair, Senator Gringo Honasan, quizzed the SAF officials on the source of the P37 million that Dizon returned to the Philippine National Police in April.
“‘Yan ang ‘di maipaliwanag. Pinipilit natin tanungin saan galing ang P37–M? Parang afterthought talaga yan. At parang it was forced on them na ilabas nila. And kung nailabas nila, ano talaga ang source ng P37M?” he asked.
Lacson alleged that the P37 million came from Lusad and Dizon who contributed P27 million and P10 million respectively.
He was also puzzled why the SAF officials kept money in their custody despite and only “reimbursed” the troopers in May 2018.
“So whether or not nanggaling sa ASA rin, or from other sources, basta the fact remains na sinauli nila. So I don’t know kung pagdating sa Ombudsman, kung magiging defense ‘yan or that would put them down,” he said.
The inquiry revealed that part of the P59.8 million allowances was used for the organized messing of SAF troopers deployed at the National Bilibid Prison.
Lacson said that the committee received liquidation for the use of the fund for fellowships, training, and even contribution for the families of SAF commandoes who passed away.
But the senator said this should not have been sourced from the ASA of SAF commandoes.
“Kung nag-voluntary contribution ang SAF, dapat galing sa bulsa na nila. Nabigay sa tao tapos ang tao bahala mag-dole out kung gusto nila tumulong sa pamilya ng namatay nilang kasama,” he said.
INQUIRER.net has already tried to get the side of Gen. Lusad but he has yet to respond as of posting time. /je
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.