Senate seeks probe of missing P59.8M allowances for SAF troopers

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 18 2018 11:23 AM

MANILA - Senator Panfilo Lacson on Wednesday filed a resolution urging the Senate to look into the alleged withholding of P59.8-million worth of allowances for members of the Special Action Force (SAF).

Under Senate Resolution 712, the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs was directed to probe possible irregularities in the disbursement of allowances for SAF troopers.

About 4,000 SAF troopers are entitled to receive monthly "additional subsistence allowance" and additional compensation for "explosive ordnance disposal hazardous pay," but documents from some policemen showed elite team members only received their allowances for 8 months since 2016, Lacson said in a statement.

"SAF members only got their share of ASA for January 2016 and January to July 2017," Lacson said.

"We cannot allow, yet again, another injustice to be committed against our heroes in uniform who are in the forefront of our fight against the ills of terrorism and criminality, lest we risk demoralization within their ranks," he added.

A statement from Lacson's office said former SAF head Director Benjamin Lusad and SAF budget officer Senior Superintendent Andre Dizon admitted that the allowances were used "for operational expenses, fellowship and training - but without showing proof of the liquidation."

Lusad and Dizon are expected to present their side during the Senate hearing.

"If (the allegations are) true, it constitutes a criminal or unlawful act and runs counter to the evident policy of the President to increase the pay of our military and uniformed personnel in order to repay them for their sacrifices," Lacson said.

SAF director Noli Taliño on Tuesday said the police officer involved in alleged fund malversation has returned a total of P37 million from the missing P60 million in police funds.

Taliño said former SAF budget and control officer Senior Supt. Andrei Dizon returned the P37 million in cash: P10 million last April 12 and P27 million on Monday, April 16.

"Sa budget officer kay Superintendent Collado. Sinabihan ako ng budget officer ko na, ‘Sir, nagbigay ng ganitong amount," he said.

Taliño said they have started to distribute the returned money to SAF personnel but did not specify how much they gave per person.

“Nag-initial na. May nakatanggap na," he said.