Friday, August 19, 2011
MANILA, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Aug. 19, 2011) - Philippine Senator Franklin Drilon said intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) in 2004 and 2007 which still remain unliquidated may have been used in the elections by the Arroyo administration.
Drilon, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee currently deliberating the proposed P1.816 trillion national budget for 2012, said that documents pertaining to the use of the intelligence funds could have been concealed by the previous PCSO board, with the Commission on Audit (CoA) admitting they have yet to liquidate a still undetermined amount due to lack of records.
The senator cited the peculiarity of the situation, saying “We suspect that the intelligence funds were used by the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for the 2004 and 2007 elections.”
CoA chairperson Ma. Gracia Pulido-Tan told the Finance committee Thursday that the former PCSO board has not submitted a liquidation of the state-run charity agency’s intelligence funds, even a certification which is the current practice of government agencies in liquidating confidential and intelligence funds.
“There are no records on file for 2004 and 2007. Interestingly, these were election years... They did not submit reports for 2004 and 2007,” said Pulido-Tan, referring to the previous PCSO board headed by ex-general Manager Rosario Uriarte, who figured prominently in the illegal disbursement of PCSO intelligence funds.
Now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo has a penchant in PCSO’s funds, Drilon said, after a Senate hearing uncovered P150 million has been released by the former PCSO board to the former President a few months before the 2010 presidential elections.
A total of P325 million, excluding the P150 million released during the 2010 elections, has been released by the former PCSO board from 2008-2010, it was bared during a previous Senate inquiry on the PCSO’s intelligence funds.
Uriarte, who served PCSO from 2003-2010, was given the sole authority to disburse intelligence funds which came from PCSO’s public relations funds. She eventually admitted that she issued and encashed the checks with respect to intelligence funds.
“We do not even know how much was appropriated for 2004 and 2007 because that has to be checked with PCSO,” Drilon said.
Drilon said that CoA should submit the corporate operating budget of the PCSO for the years involved for the purpose of identifying how much has been allocated by the state firm as intelligence funds.