Angara defends Enrile on fund releases

TAKING cue from his two terms as Senate president, Senator Edgardo Angara on Tuesday defended Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile for the distribution of P1.6 million additional Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) to 18 senators last December.

Angara said that realigning savings is part of the Senate procedures because it is authorized by the budget law every year and honoured by tradition.

However, Angara admitted that the only difference during his term as leader of the Upper Chamber the manner of distribution and the amount.

“All are equal even from the minority. But I am not saying that it is wrong that the Senate president to make uneven distribution that is his judgement call. But, I am saying that the only reasons questions have been raised because all did not receive the same amount,” Angara said.

Angara further explained that under the budget law, all savings can be realigned as additional MOOE which has a one year lifespan unlike two years for capital outlay.

“One year lang ang operating budget, ang two years life is the capital outlay like refurbishing your office, buying new computers or copiers. But, MOOE is a day to day money because in MOOE you use to buy supplies,” he said.

Angara also dismissed the allegation made by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago that “additional MOOE” were pocketed by some senators because nobody noticed the distribution.

“Hindi naman, kasi may audit yan eh.  Hindi mo maibubulsa iyan. You have to submit documents and receipts to justify the expenses. But that is her privilege to call for an audit for all expenses by each senator,” Angara said.

He added that there is no irregularity on the distribution since as he said earlier it was authorized by law and a usual practice not only in the Senate but also in other constitutional offices.

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