MANILA -- Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile on Thursday said allowances given to Senate employees are reasonable and even smaller than what House employees get.

According to news reports, the Commission on Audit (COA) is investigating allegedly excessive allowances given to officials of the Senate Secretariat.

But Enrile said allowances he approved were at par, if not lower, than those at the House of Representatives.

Enrile meantime has not yet seen the COA report, but said no new allowances have been approved since then.

The allowances were requested by division heads of the Senate secretariat “to make them at par with allowances at the House”.

Enrile added the bonuses were taken from savings and did not need additional money from the national budget. “I think it's reasonable. (Senate employees) have been getting less”.

The allowances were granted during the 14th Congress. The move was a joint decision between Enrile and the Senate accounts committee headed by Senator Panfilo Lacson. (Jonathan de Santos/Sunnex)