Malampaya gas field

Arroyo faces new raps over alleged misuse of P38-billion Malampaya fund

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Arroyo faces new raps over alleged misuse of P38-billion Malampaya fund

POLITICIAN. File photo of former President and Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

House Press and Public Affairs Bureau

(1st UPDATE) Consumer groups Nasecore and BKAI claim that former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo 'deliberately twisted' laws to use the Malampaya funds for non-energy-related projects

MANILA, Philippines– Electricity consumer advocates filed cases for graft and malversation before the Office of the Ombudsman against former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for allegedly misusing P38.8-billion of the Malampaya fund.

The complainants, namely the National Association of Electricity Consumers for Reforms, Inc. (Nasecore) and Boses ng Konsyumer Allliance, Inc. (BKAI) based their arguments from a special audit report of the Commission on Audit released in 2017 which detailed the misuse of P900 million of the Malampaya Fund.

They accused Arroyo of abusing presidential discretion provided under Presidential Decree No. 910 or the Energy Development Fund, which aims to finance energy projects. This provision allowed for the use of the funds for “other purposes”  that may be determined by the President.

They said Arroyo funneled the funds from Malampaya to agricultural and irrigation programs, transport projects, national security activities, and cash assistance to the transport sector.

While the disbursements may have served a public purpose, the groups said “the same ultimately frustrated the country’s drive toward energy independence, leaving the energy consumers at the mercy of a volatile world market and inhibiting economic growth.”

Here’s a detailed breakdown of where the money went:

  • P10.66 billion – Department of National Defense, Armed Forces of the Philippines and different military branches
  • P9.29 billion – National Electrification Administration and National Power Corporation
  • P5.82 billion – Department of Agriculture
  • P4.86 billion – Department of Public Works and Highways
  • P3.63 billion – Department of Finance, Bureau of the Treasury, and National Housing Authority 
  • P900 million – Department of Agrarian Reform
  • P745.93 million – Department of Health
  • P690 million – Department of the Interior and Local Government, Philippine National Police
  • P482 million – Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration 
  • P50 million – Philippine Coast Guard

“Respondent Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo whimsically took the opportunity of the said law’s inadequacy and deliberately twisted the interpretation of the said provision to mean that she, as President, had the discretion to use the Malampaya Fund for whatever purpose she deemed fit,” the complaint read.

Arroyo was previously named a respondent in the earlier complaints about the Malampaya fund but has been cleared by the Ombudsman for “insufficiency of evidence.” (READ: How the Malampaya fund was plundered)

The groups, however, argued that Arroyo was cleared only in the P900 million Malampaya fund that went to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR). They noted that the new complaint covers the entire P38.81 billion that was released during Arroyo’s term.

The groups asked the Ombudsman to place Arroyo under preventive suspension as a member of the House of Representatives.

In a statement, Arroyo’s lawyer Ferdinand Topacio said their camp has yet to receive the official copy of the complaint.

“Suffice it to state that based on newspaper reports, the complainant admits that the funds concerned were used for public purposes. Therefore, in accordance with settled legal principles, [former president] Arroyo has done no wrongdoing during her term, and we are confident that these charges will be proven false, in the same manner that other accusations made before them have been shown to be baseless,” he said on Tuesday, October 3.

The Malampaya fund consists of royalties collected by the government from the Malampaya deep water gas-to-power project since 2001. It is supposed to fund energy development projects, but has since been utilized by Arroyo and then late former resident Benigno Aquino III for non-energy-related initiatives.

The scam involves allocations for DAR under the Arroyo government, a huge part of which was siphoned off by non-governmental organizations run by Janet Lim Napoles, tagged as the mastermind of the pork barrel scandal that involved lawmakers’ discretionary funds. –

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