Andaya refutes SC: Malampaya Fund releases had been declared constitutional
By Juan Escandor Jr. NAGA CITY---Former secretary of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and now Camarines Sur first district Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. has maintained that all the releases he made regarding the Malampaya fund had been declared by the Supreme Court as constitutional. Contrary to the reported declaration of the Supreme Court’s November 2013 decision of unconstitutionality regarding the DBM’s fund releases, Andaya said the highest court has actually declared the DBM releases that were not related to energy projects as constitutional. The former DBM secretary was reacting to the report that the COA is interested in probing for anomalies the P36.288B paid in royalties from Malampaya gas fields from 2004-2012. In a telephone interview with the Bicol Mail on Monday, Andaya said that the petitioners wanted the Supreme Court to declare the DBM releases of the Malampaya Fund that were unrelated to energy explorations or projects as unconstitutional. “Before 2013, the Supreme Court had decided that the releases of the DBM of the Malampaya Fund were legal and with basis. The old releases prior to 2013, even though they were not used for energy exploration and projects, or even used for calamity or other purposes which were priority of the administration, were deemed legal,” he said. Andaya said the DBM, under five secretaries and two presidents, should not be worried because the Supreme Court has decided that “our actions were legal.” He said since 2004, the Commission on Audit had not seen any problem with the releases (of the Malampaya Fund) because there was never a notice of disallowance. “How did this happen when every year the COA had not seen anything wrong with the releases under five secretaries of the DBM and two presidents, then suddenly there was a problem?” Andaya said. He said the Supreme Court has decided based on the “operative doctrine because nothing had been found as unconstitutional in their releases, therefore all of the releases were legal.” “All we need is to submit to the COA the Supreme Court decision and give them the right explanation,” Andaya said.