7 senators had zero expenses in 2017 under foreign trips: report

Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 22 2019 09:47 PM

MANILA—Seven senators did not have expenses for foreign trips in 2017, based on the itemized list of senators' expenses published on Tuesday. 

They are senators Sonny Angara, Manny Pacquiao, Francis Pangilinan, Vicente Sotto III, Antonio Trillanes IV, and Joel Villanueva. Senator Leila de Lima also did not have any foreign travel expenses as she has been detained on drug charges since February 2017. 

The report, titled “Itemized list of expenses for each senator,” was published in the Philippine Star on Tuesday and covered the period of January 1 to December 31, 2017, 

Among senators who used public money for foreign travel in 2017, Sen. Francis Escudero recorded the lowest amount with P121,562.00.

Among the senators who had more than P1 million in foreign travel expenses in 2017 were: 

  • Former Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano (from January 1 to May 30, 2017 – P1,128,041.50); 
  • Richard Gordon (P1,429,682.39); 
  • Loren Legarda(P1,324,459.64); 
  • Cynthia Villar (P1,605,312.61); 
  • Migz Zubiri (P1,048,404.08).

Among the biggest spenders on foreign trips in 2017 were Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and former Senate President Koko Pimentel. 

Drilon recorded P1,801,422.50 in foreign travel expenses, while Pimentel incurred P3,947,530.60.

In a text message, Pimentel said the travel expenses he incurred was expected because the Senate president receives a higher budget.

"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.

The upper chamber used P17,512,982.39 for local travel expenses in 2017. 

Meantime, the senators’ overall salaries in 2017 amounted to P34,309,363.23.

Other items on the published report include: 

  • Salaries and benefits of staff (P788,292,195.58); 
  • Meetings and conferences (P70,540,954.89); 
  • Professional and consultancy fee (P194,752,808.07); 
  • Supplies and materials (P14,337.627.84); 
  • Rental of office space/equipment (P10,316,687.68); 
  • Extraordinary and miscellaneous fees (P193,670,315.63) and; 
  • Miscellaneous and other operating expenses (P442,192,182.02).

The Senate’s expenses for 2017 totaled P1,862,612,237.28.

The publication of the Senate expenditures’ is in compliance with Section 20, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution, which states that "the records and books of accounts of the Congress shall be preserved and be open to the public in accordance with law, and such books shall be audited by the Commission on Audit which shall publish annually an itemized list of amounts paid to and expenses incurred for each Member."