Malacañang on Tuesday maintained that there is nothing wrong in giving huge salaries and bonuses to top diplomats as noted by a Commission on Audit (COA) report.
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. explained that Philippine ambassadors receive salaries based on existing laws and regulations.
“Wala po kaming gagawin dahil naaayon po sa batas ang lahat ng nakalagay doon sa ulat ng Commission on Audit. Mayroon na pong pahayag ang ating Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). Lahat po ng tinatanggap ng iba’t iba nating mga ambassador ay naaayon po sa batas ng ating Republika (We will not do anything because what is in the COA report is in accordance withlaw. The DFA has issued a statement. The remuneration given to ambassadors is in accordance with our laws),” Coloma said.
“Kung nagkataon pong mataas ang na-allocate sa kanila na allowance ay ito po ay isinasaalang-alang lang ang kongkretong sitwasyon doon sa bansa na kung saan sila naglilingkod kaya wala pong iregularidad hinggil diyan. Ang naihayag po na report ng Commission on Audit ay makatotohanan at kongkretong pag-uulat ng mga pananalapi at suweldo na tumatalima sa batas ng Republika (If their allowances are high, it was given in consideration of the situation in the country where they are posted so there is no irregularity there),” he added.
The COA earlier reported that seven of the Philippines’ 10 highest paid officials come from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
But the DFA insisted that the computation of COA was misleading, noting that rental fees for the ambassadors’ official residences were included in the computation of allowances.
Based on the COA report, the Philippines’ highest paid official is Ambassador to China Erlinda Basilio who received P16.439 million last year.