Senate probe on Malampaya fund anomalies sought

MANILA — A resolution has been filed seeking for a probe into billions of pesos worth of anomalous disbursements of Malampaya funds under the past two administrations.

Under Senate Resolution No. 579, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said that he believed an inquiry was needed to “hold erring public officers responsible for the irregular release of these funds.”

Gatchalian, chair of the Senate Committee on Energy, also said that the probe would help prevent future illegal exploitation of these funds meant to finance the development of energy resources.

“Their usage for other purposes, and without following the clear procedural requirements concerning their disbursement is a serious cause for concern that must be looked into by the government,” Gatchalian said in filing his resolution.

In his resolution, Gatchalian directed the appropriate Senate committee to conduct an inquiry “on the release of the Malampaya Funds by the Department of Budget and Management witwithout complete documentary requirements in violation of Presidential Decree No. 910 Series of 1976, Executive Order No. 683 Series of 2007, DBM-DOE-DOF Joint Circular No. 3 Series of 2008, and other relevant laws and rules and regulations as specified in the Commission on Audit’s Special Report No. 2017-04.”

The Malampaya Fund holds the government’s profit share from the exploitation of natural gas resources in the Camago-Malampaya Reservoir.

It has accumulated PHP173.280 billion from the operations between 2002 until 2013.

These funds were collected by the Department of Energy for the exploration and development of energy resources. In 2007, the DBM was authorized to release money from the fund. However, a special report issued by the COA in 2017 revealed that Special Allotment Release Orders (SAROs) and Notices of Cash Allocations (NCAs) were issued with incomplete documentary requirements, such as the lack of project proposals, requests for funds from the implementing agencies, proof of DBM evaluation, or approval by the President.

As of May 21, 2012, a total of PHP38.8 billion of public funds has been released by DBM to various non-government agencies, government-owned and controlled corporations, and the provincial government of Palawan. (PNA)