MANILA, Philippines - Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile on Wednesday threatened to expose all the details of the additional maintenance operating and other expenses (MOOE) of some senators.
“Wait until I expose all the expenses of other people here,” said Enrile as he went into the podium to start the session on Wednesday afternoon, where Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano was scheduled to deliver a privilege speech on the Senate president's "Christmas cash gift."
Enrile made the threat following the revelation of Commission on Audit (COA) chairperson Grace Pulido-Tan that his most “cantankerous” critic, Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, has about P 15-million in additional MOOE in 2012.
Enrile also challenged his critics -- including Santiago, siblings Alan Peter and is sister, Pia, as well as Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV -- to bring forth any charges against him in any court.
“I am waiting for them to file all the cases they want and to have me investigated by any court, by any forum. I am just waiting, waiting, waiting,” Enrile said.
Responding to a letter by Santiago who called for audit on how savings are used by Congress, Tan mentioned that Santiago herself received a total of P15,492,292 in “additional MOOE” last year. She said the amounts were distributed in March, May, June, July, August, September, October, November and December.
Tan explained that as Senate president, Enrile is empowered under Section 53 of the General Appropriations Act of 2012 to augment any item in the GAA from savings in other items of their respective appropriations.
The President, House Speaker, Chief Justice and heads of the Constitutional Commissions, as well as the Ombudsman, enjoy the same fiscal autonomy.
Tan added that the COA has been doing its job in auditing government agencies every year, which are reflected in their annual audit reports, special audit reports (in case of performance, value-for-money, and specific audit requests) or fraud audit reports.
Tan noted, however, that the MOOE is not a discretionary fund. She noted that the GAA provides that “appropriations for MOOE… shall be available for release and obligation for the purpose specified...”
In respect of the Senate, the MOOE is specified in the GAA to be sued for general administration and support, legislative services and operational requirements of about 35 congressional commissions and oversight committees.
Per type of expenditure, the MOOE is specified in the GAA to be used for travelling, communication, repairs, and maintenance, transportation and delivery, supplies and materials, rents, utility, training and scholarship, extraordinary and printing and binding, advertising, representation, subscription and membership dues and contributions.