New graft complaint filed vs ex-Pres. Arroyo over Malampaya Fund misuse

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10


Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 1) — Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is facing fresh complaints for graft and malversation over alleged misuse of ₱38.807 billion from the Malampaya Fund.

In a statement Sunday, National Association of Electricity Consumers for Reforms, Inc. (NASECORE) President Pete Ilagan and Boses Ng Konsyumer Alliance, Inc. (BKAI) President Roger Reyes said their complaint was based on a recently obtained Commission on Audit (COA) report completed in 2017, which detailed the disbursements of the fund.

The COA report showed that the national government received ₱173.280 billion in royalties from petroleum operations of Malampaya oil and gas wells from January 2002 to June 2013, of which ₱38.807 billion was categorized by the COA as improper disbursement due to non-compliance with existing laws, rules and regulations.

In their complaint filed before the Office of the Ombudsman on Sept. 28, the electricity consumer advocates alleged that Arroyo abused the presidential discretion provided under Presidential Decree No. 910, which states that the Malampaya Fund should be used for projects related to "the exploration, exploitation and development of indigenous energy resources vital to economic growth."

Ilagan and Reyes said that the ₱38.807 billion went to various projects not covered by Presidential Decree No. 910, hindering the country's drive towards energy independence and inhibiting economic growth.

Among these projects were the "Pantawid Pasada Program” and projects on transportation, agriculture, calamity, relocation, infrastructure, national security rehabilitation and improvement.

They added that "although the disbursements may have served a public purpose, 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."

Ilagan acknowledged that the former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales dismissed the complaint against former President Arroyo, ordering the filing of plunder and other criminal charges against businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, former Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya Jr., and 23 others over the alleged scam. 

Arroyo was dismissed from the case on the grounds that her role was merely to authorize the disbursement of the fund and that she had no involvement in the subsequent misappropriation.

However, Ilagan maintained that Arroyo was only cleared in the ₱900-million scam, which was primarily siphoned off into non-governmental organizations headed by Napoles, and not the total ₱38.807 billion that Arroyo misused throughout her nine-year presidency.

Ilagan challenged the incumbent Ombudsman Samuel Martires to file graft and malversation charges against Arroyo.