MANILA - Senator Jinggoy Estrada on Wednesday said Justice Secretary Leila de Lima received P1 million in monthly allowance during her stint as Commission on Human Rights (CHR) chairperson.
Speaking before her confirmation hearing at the Commission on Appointments, De Lima said she was receiving less than P100,000 monthly in basic salaries and allowances when she was CHR chairperson.
She confirmed that the CHR got about P500,000 in quarterly confidential funds from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) but this was not an additional allowance for her.
Estrada, however, refuted de Lima. He said the PAGCOR actually allocated P1 million allowance to CHR upon the instructions of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
"You were receiving a monthly allowance of P1 million. Sayang namatay na si Mrs. Ching Vargas na dating sa Malacanang. She was the one who kept the records that you were receiving P1 million from PAGCOR as instructed by President Arroyo," he said.
Estrada also questioned why de Lima questioned immigration personnel about his trips abroad. He pointed out that there is no hold-departure order against him, despite being an accused in the pork barrel scam.
De Lima, however, said she only wanted to be informed about the trips.
The Department of Justice earlier filed plunder charges against Estrada and two other opposition senators for allegedly pocketing millions of pesos in pork barrel fund kickbacks.
During the hearing, the senator said he has no intention of blocking De Lima's nomination as justice chief.
"I do not have a grudge against her," Estrada said.