Malampaya fund spending during Arroyo presidency all legal –lawyer

Philippine Tribune
Philippine Tribune

The camp of former President and now House Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Tuesday denied allegations that she misused Malampaya natural gas fund during her presidency.

In a statement following the filing of a complaint against Arroyo, Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, the former president’s counsel, said the public fund in question were all utilized within existing laws.

“We have not yet received any official copy of the complaint or complaints, so we cannot make any specific comments as of this time. Suffice it to state that based on newspaper reports, the complainant admits that the  funds concerned were used for public purposes,” Topacio said.

“Therefore,  in accordance with settled legal principles,  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 added.

Topacio was responding to the 24-page complaint filed with the Office of the Ombudsman by Petronilo Ilagan of National Association of Energy Consumers for Reforms, Inc. (Nasecore) and Rogelio Reyes of Boses ng Konsyumer Alliance, Inc. accusing Arroyo of illegal disbursement of P38-billion Malampaya fund, or government revenues from the Camago-Malampaya Reservoir service contract.

The complainants argued that Arroyo disbursed the P38-billion Malampaya fund on non-energy related projects, in violation of Presidential Decree 910 and as noted in a 2017 Commission on Audit special audit on the fund.

Topacio is confident that they can answer the accusations against Arroyo.

“We trust in the justice system, and we shall answer the charges in due time,” he said. —Llanesca T. Panti/KBK, GMA Integrated News

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