House members got P200,000 additional fund in December-A A +A
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
LIKE their counterparts in the Senate, members of the House of Representatives also received additional fund for operations, the chairman of the House committee on accounts said Wednesday.
An Waray partylist Representative Florencio “Bem” Noel, chairman of the House panel, told reporters that the regular maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) distributed to the 287 House members is P287,000 monthly.
For December 2012, however, the MOOE was increased to P500,000.
“That practice was done during the time of Nogie,” Noel said referring to former House Speaker Prospero Nograles. “Although that time, mas maliliit pa.”
Noel said the additional fund is used for the 13th month pay, bonuses, and transportation expenses of the Manila and district staff of congressmen.
Unlike in the Senate, all House members are entitled to such increase, including those who are part of the opposition bloc.
Minority Leader Danilo Suarez confirmed receiving the additional fund in a press conference.
“Whatever it is, it is being practiced every Christmas. This is my sixth Congress already so (I’ve been here) 18 years. I know that every Christmas, the leadership gives a little something for you to spread it out among your staff not entitled to any benefit,” Suarez said.
A national daily reported that Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile distributed P1.6 million in “cash gifts” to his colleagues in the Senate.
In a statement, Enrile explained that at the end of 2012, the Senate budget office reported that the available amount for MOOE was a total of P2.218 million for each senator.
The first tranche, Enrile said, was released in November with the amount of P600,000. All 23 senators received the said amount.
The balance of P1.6 million was then divided into two tranches of P1.3 million and P318,000, respectively, and were approved to be released before the holiday break.
Four senators, namely, Alan Peter Cayetano and his sister, Pia, Antonio Trillanes IV and Miriam Defensor-Santiago, however, did not receive the remaining balance. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)