Columnist Conrado de Quiros rebukes Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile for distributing P1.6 million in “bonus to his favorite senators and only P250,000 to his not-very-favorite ones” and calls it a form of corruption (“Corruption, too,” Inquirer, 1/15/13).
First of all, he errs grievously in calling it a bonus. The P1.6 million is part of additional maintenance and other operating expenses or MOOE that were sourced from the savings of the Office of the Senate President and given to them in December. Earlier, in November, all the senators received P600,000 in MOOE as the first tranche. So what’s wrong with accepting the first tranche without any question and complaining vociferously about getting a much lower sum than the others the second time around? It’s pure and simple a fit of sour grapes. In the case of the four senators who have openly attacked Enrile and received “only P250,000,” did they want to have their cake and eat it too? That’s what it looks like to me.
Secondly, the Commission on Audit says that the release of the additional MOOE by Enrile is perfectly legal. Is De Quiros saying that the COA should not be believed and should perhaps be abolished? If that’s the case, perhaps De Quiros wants the crooks in government to rob the treasury blind?
And another thing. A former Inquirer business columnist revealed not too long ago that his media colleague, De Quiros, worked in government—under Malacañang, no less—for many years during martial law. That means he is all too familiar with the budget system in government. Why did he not raise a furor over the corruption that was endemic in government then? Why is he complaining only now? Was he afraid, or was he actually benefiting from it? He should be challenged to subject himself to a thorough auditing of his earnings during that time, so that readers would know whether his stand then and his stand now are consistent. If not, he may actually be just talking out of both sides of his mouth.