MANILA, Philippines – Former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) General Manager (GM) Rosario Uriarte told senators on Thursday that part of the agency’s intelligence funds were used as blood money for at least 4 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) on death row in Saudi Arabia.
Uriarte claimed that she gave P5 million for each of the OFWs to Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Esteban Conejos.
She added that former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was aware of the blood money.
The Senate Blue Ribbon committee is summoning Conejos to the next hearing to shed light on the issue.
Senator Franklin Drilon questioned the use of PCSO funds for blood money and as cash gifts for Catholic church officials to buy vehicles.
He told dzMM’s Pasada Sais Trenta on Thursday that the practice can be considered as technical malversation.
“Hindi mo pwedeng kunin iyan sa PCSO dahil wala sa charter,” he said.
“That’s technical malversation. Ang layunin, hindi masama… ngunit ang panggagalingan ng pera ay hindi dapat sa PCSO,” he added.
Drilon said the funds for OFWs should have been taken from either the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration or the Deparment of Foreign Affairs.
“Kung papayagan natin ito, you will lose control over how public funds are spent,” he said. – with reports from ANC, dzMM