SENATE president pro-tempore Ralph Recto may be right in disclosing that the P130-billion remaining fund from the Malapaya deep water gas-to-power project collection is nowhere to be found, because even the government finance officials had During the resumption of the briefing of the Development and Budget Coordinating Council (DBCC) on the 2014 National expenditure to the Senate Finance Committee Finance secretary Cesar Purisima admitted that the government already spent the said fund which was “comingled” to the general funds of the government.
Purisima explained that when the government received the money from the operators of Malampaya, it is recognize as revenue in general fund therefore, the cash is also recognize in the general fund as provided in the Presidential Decree 1234.
PD 1234 states that all income and collections for special or fiduciary funds authorized by law shall be remitted to the Treasury and treated as Special Accounts in the General Fund, and this include the Malampaya royalties.
“It basically created the concept of a special fund, in the general fund. So the Malampaya fund is treated under that PD and basically it is a ledger that summarizes the receipts and uses. But the cash is already with the general fund. It is not a special fund in the true sense of the word,” Purisma explained.
Senator Serge Osmena, was the one who raised the question regarding the fund in a bid to determine its present status and how it is currently being spent by the government.
It was Sen. Recto who first questioned the fund after learning from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) that remaining P130 billion from the gas projects is nowhere to be found.
According to Recto the DBM could not tell where did the P130-billion balance from the Malampaya collection went and there are no documents that can show how it was spent.
“I have been studying the Malampaya fund collection since 2010 and there are no documents that will show the P130 billion. Maybe it was used to fund other projects,” he said.
National Treasurer Rosalia De Leon, of the Bureau of Treasury (BTr) admitted during the briefing that the government since 2002 to October 9, 2013 collected a total of P183.57 billion. Total disbursements as of Aug. 29, 2013 is P46.5 billion.
Disbursement during the administration of former president Gloria Arroyo is about P23.6 billion while the present administration already spent a total P18.5 billion. Making the total disbursement from the Malampaya fund to P40 billion.
Osmena asked Purisima about the Malampaya balance and why is it that they are having a hard time locating it, the Secretary said that the administration of President Benigno Aquino 3rd, only adopted the existing policy regarding the Malampaya and how the fund is treated.
“Basically when the Aquino administration took office that is how it (Malampaya fund) is being treated. It is like a memorandum document that just is a list,” he pointed out.
He added that all of funds have been recognized in the accounts of the general fund of the republic.
The Senator then ask why is the government not using the funds, and Purisima admitted that the cash from the Malampaya collection have been spent already.
De leon also seconded Purisima and said that “there is no more cash”.
Osmena noted that the reason why the Malampaya fund is being considered part of the presidential “pork” is because the president has the power to use it on any projects which he deem fit aside from it being used for energy related projects.
It is also the reason why there are proposals in the senate seeking to amend the law and remove the discretionary power of the president over the funds.
“But my own thinking is, throw it ( Malampaya fund) to the general fund and let the executive recommend projects…so that it will be more transparent and everybody will be able to take a look at it,” Osmena added. JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA