Senators Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and Manuel “Lito” Lapid may have crossed over from filmdom to politics, but they haven’t given up their lead roles—as big spenders, that is.
In a financial report covering January to December 2007, the Commission on Audit (COA) said the actors-turned-politicians were among the top spenders on administrative operations in the Senate.
Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, who is married to megastar Sharon Cuneta, was in the same ballpark.
Revilla spent P15,889,626.66, Estrada P15,449,229.69, Pangilinan P15,271,305.21 and Lapid P15,103,242.15.
Non-show biz type
The fifth slot went to a non-show biz type—Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile with P14,993,705.40.
In salaries and benefits, Revilla was at the top with P7,836,398.98, followed by Estrada at P6,933,427.69.
Revilla topped the list because of the need to fill in regular plantilla positions, according to his chief of staff, Reena Angeli Alejar.
She said while other senators had ample committee staff, there was a need to hire additional employees, including consultants, for the Senate committee on public works chaired by Revilla.
This will “maximize” the use of salary budget for each senator because more staff members have actually been hired by Revilla compared with others, she said.
by Michael Lim Ubac & Ania Aquino, Philippine Daily Inquirer