PCGG: Marcos Funds With PNB 'Touched'

MANILA, Philippines - Government has decided to pull out $10 million (around P428 million) or nearly half of the Presidential Commission on Good Government's (PCGG's) special legal contingency fund from the Philippine National Bank (PNB) after discovering that it had been used by the previous administration on extravagant and unliquidated foreign trips, among others.

In its resolution dated Dec. 6, 2011, the PCGG moved to withdraw the amount from its Contingency Fund deposited in an escrow account in PNB and then remit it to the Bureau of Treasury.

The decision of the five-man commission headed by PCGG Chairman Andres Bautista was reached "in order to safeguard the integrity of purpose and function of the contingency/litigation fund - while serving the Commission's concomitant mandates of supporting the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) without compromising its ill-gotten wealth recovery efforts."

The PCGG Contingency Fund is part of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos's Swiss deposits that were transferred to the Philippine government after a successful litigation at the Swiss Federal Supreme Court.

During Haydee Yorac's tenure at the PCGG, the commission authorized PNB to retain five percent of the recovered Marcos' Swiss deposits as a contingency fund to cover the litigation and administrative expenses for the recovery of the Arelma account in the United States and the Westlandesbank account in Singapore. The government is looking to recover approximately $60 million in these two cases.

The same account has a balance of $20,930,621 as of Nov. 30, 2011.

Earlier, Bautista said the PNB's dismal handling of the fund is evidenced by the depletion of the fund from $30 million to $20 million since it was created in 2004 until former PCGG Chairman Camilo Sabio left his post in September 2010.

An internal audit made by the Bautista-led PCGG disclosed that the fund even reached $39 million due to interest earnings but it was used beyond the parameters that were set for its usage.

The PCGG report disclosed that at least $4 million dollars were spent for expensive foreign travels made by officials of the PCGG ($2.3 million); Office of the Solicitor General ($1.5 million); and even PNB executives ($166,800) during Sabio's tenure.

Citing official records, the report said Sabio undertook 41 to 50 trips between September 2005 to June 2010 while former commissioner Jaime Bautista had 60 between June 2006 to May 2010-all expenses charged to the PNB-retained fund.

In requesting for funds, the chairman or officer-in-charge first writes a letter to PNB making the necessary representations and giving details on the persons making up for the delegation, inclusive dates of the trip, short description of the trip's objective, and the amount requested for.

In some instances, the PCGG learned, that aside from appropriating $1,000 per member of the delegation as representation allowance, separate contingency funds were arbitrarily determined (ranging from $1,000 to $36,000) and demanded in the PCGG letters to PNB.

While hotel accommodation shows up as an expense distinct from the requested daily subsistence allowance, which already covers for lodging expenses, travel is also made on business class even if Executive Order 298 clearly restricts travel by economy class unless authorized by the President.

Worse, the report disclosed that at least two trips charged to the PNB-retained fund was also charged to CIIF Oil Mills Group, a government-sequestered corporation which reportedly funded 10 more foreign trips for Sabio.

Aside from these apparent irregularities, a sum of $9.5 million was supposedly disbursed for attorneys' fees for the PCGG ($3.6 million) and the PNB ($5.9 million) as of September 2010.

There was also a payment of $26,755 to Sabio's brother-in-law Donald O'Buckley for consulancy services rendered from April 5 to 28, 2010 allegedly over the case of Osqugama F. Swezey, et. al. v. Merill Lynch, et. al. pending before the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Sandigan OKs hospital stay for GMA co-accused
    Sandigan OKs hospital stay for GMA co-accused

    The Sandiganbayan has allowed a government official, accused with plunder along with former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to undergo a medical procedure at a hospital tomorrow. The anti-graft court permitted former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) board member Benigno Aguas to undergo a cardiopulmonary/endocrine clearance at the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City. …

  • Sandigan recommends executive clemency for ex-envoy
    Sandigan recommends executive clemency for ex-envoy

    The Sandiganbayan has recommended executive clemency for a former Philippine ambassador to Nigeria who was sentenced to 52 years for malversation of public funds. The Sandiganbayan First Division found Masaranga Umpa guilty of misusing the Assistance-To-Nationals Stand-by Funds totaling $80,478.80 in 2007, but the anti-graft court said the former assemblyman from Lanao del Norte should be pardoned. …

  • Stargazing at the mall highlights Earth Hour
    Stargazing at the mall highlights Earth Hour

    It was a night of stargazing in 58 SM Supermalls all over the country last night as these establishments participated in Earth Hour, an annual worldwide movement encouraging communities and establishments to switch off lights for one hour to raise global awareness of overuse of non-renewable resources. The Philippines has been an active participant of Earth Hour since 2008. Last night, in the province of Bulacan, for instance, all parishes, diocesan institutions, schools and household …

  • Payanig privatization hit
    Payanig privatization hit

    BLEMP Commercial of the Philippines, Inc. (BLEMP) denounced the recent announcement of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) to privatize the 18.4-hectare “Payanig sa Pasig” property. In a statement sent to The STAR, BLEMP lawyer Dennis Manalo said the PCGG has no right to auction the property because it has no valid title and is not in possession. The PCGG has not paid a single centavo in real property taxes for the property, he said. He narrated that it was in the early 70s …

  • New species of tarantula found
    New species of tarantula found

    Scientists from the Museum of Natural History (MNH) of the University of the Philippines-Los Baños have discovered a new species of cave-dwelling tarantula on an island off the coast of Quezon. The new species of the spider, Phlogiellus kwebaburdeos, was described in the recent issue of the Philippine Journal of Systematic Biology by MNH curators for spiders Aimee Lynn Dupo and Alberto Barrion along with their former student Joseph Rasalan. The tarantula was discovered by Rasalan during one …

  • Palm Sunday: Do not add to suffering of others
    Palm Sunday: Do not add to suffering of others

    As Christendom enters Holy Week today, Palm Sunday, an official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) yesterday called on the faithful not to add to the sufferings of their fellowmen. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Public Affairs (ECPA), said that while Palm Sunday is oftentimes remembered as the glorious arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, it also signals the start of the Holy Week that tells of His suffering, death and …

  • Miriam pushes tougher graft law
    Miriam pushes tougher graft law

    Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago has filed a bill that would make public officials liable for violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act even if they are elected to a fresh term or a new position. In filing Senate Bill 2716, Santiago sought to address what she said was the doctrine of condonation in Philippine jurisprudence brought about by the 2010 case of Salumbides vs. Ombudsman. “By merely asserting the doctrine of condonation, erring elective officials are automatically given a …

  • Phl hits back at China over sea infra work
    Phl hits back at China over sea infra work

    The Philippines assailed China yesterday for contesting Manila’s planned repair and maintenance works on some islands in the West Philippine Sea, saying they are “in no way comparable” to the Asian power’s massive reclamation activities which are in violation of international laws. “The Philippines’ possible undertaking of necessary maintenance and repairs on its existing facilities in the West Philippine Sea, over which the Philippines rightfully exercises sovereignty, sovereign rights and …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options