Former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’s office was the biggest spender among all members of the House of Representatives in 2017, according to a Commission on Audit report published on Tuesday.
The report, which showed an itemized list of amounts paid to and expenses incurred for each House member from January to December 2017, showed that Alvarez’s office spent P43.7 million that year.
Of the amount, P30.4 million was spent on “contractual consultants” but Alvarez had yet to comment on the matter as of press time.
The amount included the expenses for basic salaries, foreign travels, chairmanship allocations, district/field staff allocations, representation, consultative local travels, communication, supplies, public affairs funds, central office staff, other MOOE (maintenance and other operating expenses) and equipment and furniture/fixtures.
The list was published through an advertisement that came out in a broadsheet.
Next to Alvarez was PBA Party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles who spent P23.4 million in 2017.
Nograles defended the expenditures. He said apart from being a party-list representative, he had also been designated Caretaker-Representative of the first district of Sulu following the death of Rep. Tupay Loon in July 2016.
“I am a Party-list Representative and Caretaker-Representative of the 1st District of Sulu. Travel and operating expenses always increase the further you are from Manila,” Nograles said in a text message.
He was followed by Rep. Allen Jesse Mangaoang of Kalinga, with P22.2 million, and former DIWA party-list representatives and Justice Undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay, P20.4 million. Aglipay is the wife of Public Works Secretary Mark Villar.
The office of Rep. Nancy Catamco of North Cotabato was fifth on the list, with P20.06 million.
She was followed by Rep. Leopold Bataoil of Pangasinan with P19.69 million and Rep. Roger Mercado’s office with P19.67 million.
Rep. Jesus Sacdalan of North Cotabato ranked seventh with P19.12 million; the office of Rep. Randolph Ting of Cagayan was next with P19.09 million and Misamis Oriental Rep. Peter Unabia’s office with P19.04 million.