House leader wants DICT chief probed over P300-M cash advances

Published February 7, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Ellson Quismorio 

Deputy Speaker and Surigao del Sur 2nd district Rep. Johnny Pimentel said Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary Gregorio Honasan II should be probed regarding the agency’s “highly questionable” cash advances amounting to P300 million.

Surigao del Sur 2nd district Rep. Johnny Pimentel (Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)
Surigao del Sur 2nd district Rep. Johnny Pimentel

“The cash advances of P300 million of Secretary Honasan is highly questionable and should be investigated further,” said Pimentel, a former chairman of the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability.

This means that the solon is no stranger when it comes to alleged shenanigans in the government.

“In just one month, Sec. Honasan made cash advances of P300 million which is not subject to regular COA (Commission on Audit) audit. We should ask where did the money go,” Pimentel reckoned.

Based on a COA audit observation memorandum dated January 20, the DICT made cash advances for “confidential expenses” worth P100 million each on November 22, December 2, and December 17 last year – a span of just 26 days.

The DICT has since claimed that it used the money for surveillance and intelligence gathering.

Earlier, Eliseo Rio Jr. resigned as DICT undersecretary and placed the spotlight on the P300 million confidential expenses. Rio was the DICT acting secretary before Honasan’s entry to the agency in July 2019.

READ MORE: DICT Usec Rio offers to resign from post

“Eliseo Rio resigned because I believe he cannot turn a blind eye to the corruption that has been happening in DICT since a new leadership took over. He is correct in saying that DICT is not mandated to conduct intelligence gathering,” Pimentel said in not-so-subtle jabs at Honasan, who is a former military man.

“While millions of Filipinos are suffering from poverty, here is a high official who spent P300 million without us even knowing where the money was spent. This should be investigated,” the Deputy Speaker stressed.

Honasan has yet to personally address the issue.

READ MORE: Nograles: Rio should discuss DICT issues with Duterte