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Gatchalian seeks fresh probe of Malampaya fund scam

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Senator Win Gatchalian on Wednesday called for a fresh Senate probe on the alleged misuse of billions of funds derived by the government from the Malampaya gas field in Palawan.

“Considering the large amount of public funds involved, I believe an immediate inquiry is necessary to hold erring public officers responsible for the irregular release of these funds, and to prevent future illegal exploitation of these funds,” he said.

The chair of the Senate committee on energy was referring to the P39 billion Malampaya funds, which the Commission on Audit (COA) special report released in 2017 showed that Special Allotment Release Orders (SAROs) and Notices of Cash Allotments (NCAs) were issued with incomplete documentary requirements, such as the lack of project proposals, requests for funds from implementing agencies, proof of evaluation by the Department of Budget —and Management (DBM) or approval of the President.

As of May 21, 2012, a total of P38.8 billion of public funds have been released by DBM to various non-government agencies, government-owned and controlled corporations, and the provincial government of Palawan.

“These funds were meant to finance the development of energy resources . Their usage for other purposes, and without following the clear procedural requirements concerning their disbursement, is a serious cause for concern that must be looked into by the government,” the senator said.

In Senate resolution No. 579, Gatchalian sought to direct the appropriate committee to conduct the inquiry in aid of legislation, specifically the billions of pesos of alleged anomalous disbursements of Malampaya funds in the past two administrations.

The Malampaya Fund, which holds the government’s profit share from the exploitation of natural gas resources in the Camago-Malampaya Reservoir under Service Contract 38, accrued P173.280 billion from the operations between January 2002 until June 2013.

These funds were collected by the Department of Energy and managed by the Bureau of Treasury for the exploration and development of energy resources. In 2007, the DBM was authorized to release money from the Fund according to certain guidelines.