Drilon says Palace giving PITC ‘kid gloves’ treatment
MANILA, Philippines—Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Wednesday (Dec. 2) accused Malacanang of giving the Philippine International Trading Corp. (PITC) the “kid gloves” treatment despite what Drilon said were serious irregularities in the state firm involved in the trade of goods for government consumption.
Drilon said Palace response to controversies in the PITC, which was established in 1973, was “soft.”
“Maybe they have not realized yet the gravity of violations committed by the PITC,” Drilon said in a statement, which came as Malacanang ordered a review of the PITC’s undelivered projects, which had been estimated to cost P33 billion already.
“This is a see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil’ approach,” said Drilon, who expressed support for Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez’s call for the immediate return of the P33.3 billion lodged in the PITC.
Drilon said the money could be used for COVID-19 response and for relief efforts following the onslaught of Super Typhoon Rolly and Typhoon Ulysses.
Dominguez was the first to call for the return of the funds to the Treasury instead of these lying idle in the PITC.
Drilon said Dominguez and the Commission on Audit (COA), in a report, “had already concluded that the funds being held in trust by PITC should be returned to source agencies.”
Echoing Dominguez, Drilon said interest from the funds should also be remitted to the Treasury in accordance with Presidential Decree No. 1445, or the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines.
The state trading agency had cashed in on P1 billion in interest on income “from the billions more sourced from other government offices,” said Drilon. He added that this was a “clear violation” of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order No. 91 which Duterte signed in 2019 to shift to a cash budgeting system.
Drilon accused the PITC of failing to deliver since 2007, which allowed it to hold on to massive amounts of government funds.
Duterte’s EO No. 91 provides that all appropriations must be used until the end of each fiscal year. “Goods and services corresponding” to appropriated funds “shall be delivered or rendered, inspected and accepted by the end of each fiscal year,” the EO said.
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