Senator Leila M. de Lima the Office of the President (OP) whose expenses in 2017 were 500 percent higher than in 2016.
De Lima, the staunchest critic of the administration’s war on drugs, considered the huge increase in the expenses of the OP for 2017 as “unconscionable, scandalous, and extravagant.”
“Parang tumatae ba ng pera ang Pilipinas at mga Pilipino, para gumastos ng walang pakialam ang Malacañang sa perang pinaghirapan ng mga Pilipino?” she lamented in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 341.
In its annual report, the Commission on Audit (COA) noted that the OP spent P14.9 billion in maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) in 2017, compared to P2.3 billion in 2016 which showd that Duterte’s office spent 500 percent more in 2017 than it did in 2016.
De Lima said the astronomical increase in the President’s budget included the use of intelligence funds used to support his administration’s intensified anti-drugs campaign.
“Is this where the budget for monetary incentives in the PNP’s drug war quota comes from? Are we actually funding death squads and summary executions through the President’s discretionary intelligence funds?” she asked.
Confidential funds are for surveillance activities in civilian government agencies to support its mandate, while intelligence expenses are for intelligence information-gathering of the military, police and intelligence agents on matters of national security.
“Pangulong Duterte, hindi na po makabili ng pagkain ang mga mahihirap nating kababayan, pero para pa ring mga prinsipe at prinsesa kung gumastos ang iyong opisina, pera na hindi man lang ninyo pinaghirapang kitain at ipunin,” she said.
“Sinasadya ba ninyong ibangkarote ang pamahalaan, o talagang napakamanhid lang ng iyong mga tauhan?” she added.
“Congress should not allow itself to be the enabler of illegal and criminal acts of the Executive by blindly approving an indefensibly huge discretionary budget for the Office of the President,” she said.
“Sobra na ito. Ginigisa ang sambayanan sa sariling mantika, at tila walang pumapalag, kabilang ang mga representante ng Kongreso na dapat nagbabantay sa kaban ng bayan,” she added.