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MALAMPAYA funds 'missing'

  • Written by Jester P. Manalastas
  • Published in Nation
  • Read: 400

A MILITANT solon yesterday questioned the Department of Energy about the missing Malampaya funds amounting to billions of pesos.

During yesterday’s the budget hearing, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said the DoE should help other agencies in locating the P20.9 billion reportedly missing from the Malampaya Funds.

DoE officials, led by Secretary Alfonso Cusi, denied any involvement in the losss of the money.

“We are not the custodian of projects, if there is any. We are not part of the process of allocating funds,” Cusi said.

Zarate had cited a Commission on Audit (CoA) report that noted unrecorded Special Allotment Release Orders (SAROs) for P20.9 billion from the Malampaya Fund as of July 31, 2017.

“Where did the funds go and who authorized these disbursements?” Zarate asked the DoE.
     
The Supreme Court has already ruled that the Malampaya Fund should only be used for energy exploitation and development.
    
Zarate said he is hoping  that the DoE could immediately explain the reported loss and told the DoE officials that the funds should be used for its original purpose.
     
“As it is, it seems that Congress should exercise its oversight powers to look into this latest Malampaya mess,” the solon said.
     
In the CoA report, the Bureau of Treasury  was asked to explain the discrepancy in the current balance of the Malampaya Fund. The  CoA said there is a discrepancy between the cash releases and remittances pertaining to the Malampaya Fund.
     
Aside from the P21 billion in cash releases there is also P4 billion in remittances as of December 2016 that should be looked into.
     
The report said that based on the BTr’s own report under the title “Department of Energy (DOE)-Malampaya Special Account in the General Fund 151,” a total of P232 billion was remitted to the national treasury by the Department of Energy (DoE) from 2002 to 2016.
     
On the other hand, P42 billion was released from the fund to finance government energy projects, leaving a balance of P189 billion, the CoA said.
     
The CoA said the figures did not match those in subsidiary ledgers kept by BTr’s National Cash Accounting Division (NCAD) under the tag “Cash-Treasury/Agency Deposit Special Account-DOE-Malampaya.”
 
It says that NCAD records showed that remittances and releases from the Malampaya Fund amounted to P236 billion and P21 billion, respectively, over the same 12-year period, leaving a balance of P214 billion.