COA: Pimentel and Trillanes are Senate’s top spenders

Senators Koko Pimentel III and Antonio Trillanes IV
Senators Koko Pimentel III and Antonio Trillanes IV / compiled photo from ABS CBN

Manila, Philippines - The Commission on Audit (COA) has released a report on expenses of senators in 2017, in which Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV topped the list.

COA released the itemized list on Tuesday signed by supervising auditor Olympia Balugay.

While he was still the Senate President, Pimentel’s office incurred the most expenses in 2017 amounting to more than P127.8 million.

His office reportedly spent the most for staff salaries and benefits that amounts to P49.2 million followed by professional and consultancy fees worth P15.7 million.

Meanwhile, he also had extraordinary and miscellaneous expenses worth P11.7 million from January 1 to December 31, 2017.

Second highest spender is opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV’s office with a total spent amount of P87 million, with fees for consultancies worth around P15.7 million and  P39.8 million for salaries and benefits of his staff.

The following offices, on the other hand, spent more than P80 million, which include Senators Manny Pacquiao (P86.4 million), Risa Hontiveros (P85.2 million), Bam Aquino (P85 million), and Ralph Recto (P84.4 million).

Pimentel explained that he already expected he would spend that much in 2017 as he was the Senate President then.

“That is expected. The Senate President is allocated a higher budget, because as the head of agency he also has many additional responsibilities and functions,” he said

“Let us look at past years' COA reports and find out who were the biggest spenders in the Senate. If it is not the Senate President then that would be the biggest surprise!” he added

As for Trillanes, he said that his office only utilized the allocated budget without any irregularity.

“My office merely utilized those allocations instead of realigning them for other purposes. Just to be clear, the COA report didn't cite any irregularity on my expenditure,”the senator said

Source: GMA News

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