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Robredo: Nothing wrong with PNP use of PCSO funds

Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Rorbedo on Tuesday said there is nothing wrong in giving the Philippine National Police (PNP), which is under his department, funds sourced from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO). However, Robredo said there should be transparency in how the PCSO funds were disbursed, stressing that the money should have been spent for its intended purpose. "There is nothing illegal in the PCSO's provision of funds to the PNP. What we need to know is if the funds were spent properly and judiciously," Robredo said at a press conference in Quezon City. Earlier reports said that the PNP maintained at least 22 accounts to accommodate the funds being given by the PCSO. PNP chief Director General Raul Bacalzo has confirmed that the PNP indeed maintains sweepstakes accounts used to support the Program Management Committee, the Police Community Relations Group, and the purchase of medical equipment of the PNP. However, the PNP chief quickly added that they only have six — and not 22 — accounts, four of which had already been closed. "Nasa guidelines ng PCSO na may share ang PNP sa share ng STL. May nakasaad din dun na may pera talagang dapat matanggap ang PNP," Robredo said. STL stands for Small Town Lottery, a numbers game introduced by the government as an alternative to the illegal game of jueteng. During Tuesday's press conference, Robredo said there should be a "breakdown" of the expenses made using the sweepstakes funds. One of the thrusts of Rorbedo's administration was transparency in local government spending through the agency's "Full Disclosure Program" issued in August 2010. Under the program, local chief executives are required to post their financial transactions and expenditures in conspicuous places in their localities and on their respective government websites. Former officials of the PCSO under the Arroyo administration are the subject of a Senate investigation into the PCSO's P325-million "intelligence funds" as well as the use of sweepstakes funds to give sports utility vehicles as gifts to several bishops who supported the Arroyo administration. — Mark D. Merueñas/KBK, GMA News