Drilon: Unevenly distributed MOOE justified

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13jan_drilon_02_mikeSENATOR Franklin Drilon admitted on Monday that even when he was Senate president some senators got a bigger maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) than the others.
The MOOE has been put in the spotlight after Senate president Juan Ponce Enrile was criticized by Senators Miriam Santiago and Alan Peter Cayetano for using the savings of the Senate as additional MOOE to all senators except Santiago, the Cayetano siblings and Antonio Trillanes 4th.
Each senator received a total of P2.22 million before the end of 2012, but the four got only P600,000 in November.
In an interview on the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC), Drilon said he was confronted with the same MOOE situation when he was Senate president, but maintained that he has been fair in allowing additional MOOEs.
“That’s all I can say. I stand on my record of fairness when I was there,” Drilon noted.
Drilon first served as Senate president in 2000 after the late Senator  Blas Ople, agreed to a term-sharing set-up.
Drilon’s stint however was cut short after he was replaced by Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr. in a Senate coup.
Drilon, who was with the Makabayang Masang Pilipino coalition of then President Joseph Estrada, decided to join the opposition with then vice president Gloria Arroyo.
In 2004, Drilon once again took over the Senate presidency, this time splitting his term with Sen. Manuel Villar.
“There was an understanding between me and Senator Villar, but that understating is premised on the fact that he had the support of 13 senators. Otherwise, it would not have happened,” Drilon said.
Drilon admitted that in distributing the MOOE the chamber’s officers got a bigger share. “That is because because they’re the ones running the Senate. There was a basis for distinction and it was accepted,” he said.

With President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s allies dominating the Senate, Drilon looms as the strongest contender for the top Senate post. JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA

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