Ang ating mahal na Pangulo by Ducky Paredes

Posted in Malaya

I mean that literally. Gloria Arroyo has been our most expensive president - ever!

In 2007, the Office of the President spent a total of P249.5 million to pay the salaries and wages of its regular employees; and P10.7 million to pay casual and contractual employees.

That's P260.2 million to pay the rank and file of the Office of the President, and 58 other executive offices, agencies, commissions, and committees that report to the Office of the President.

But that's not all. Gloria Arroyo spent more than double that amount for her foreign (P585.5 million) and domestic (P34.1 million) travels, according to the Commission on Audit (COA)'s report on the 2007 financial transactions of MalacaƱang. This means an average of P49.04 million per month on foreign travel and P2.84 million on local travel!

She spent much more - P618.6 million - on "donations" to yet unknown beneficiaries, the COA report revealed. MalacaƱang, the COA report showed, spent similarly big amounts for broad, discretionary, and seemingly identical accounts, including: Confidential expenses P149 million; Consultancy services P59.6 million, Representation expenses P56.8 million, Representation allowance P14.5 million, Other bonuses and allowance P28.8 million, Transportation allowance P10.3 million, Advertising expenses P6.9 million, Additional compensation P24.8 million, Extraordinary expenses P6.64 million, Miscellaneous expenses P5.4 million, Other personnel benefits P119.8 million and Subsidy to Regional Offices/Staff Bureaus/Branch Offices P46.6 million

The COA report shows that apart from these amounts, the Office of the President also paid P21 million in "yearend bonus," P7.1 million in "cash gift," and P651,000 in "honoraria."

Gloria's household is also quite expensive. Look at these items: Food supplies expenses P55.7 million or P4.6 million a month; Electricity P54.5 million or an average of P4.5 million a month; Gasoline, oil and lubricants P27.9 million or P2.3 million a month; Water P25.4 million or P2.1 million a month; Security services P13 million or P1.08 million a month; Janitorial services P4.8 million or P400,000 a month; Telephone, landline P13.5 million or P1.1 million a month; Telephone, mobile P9.07 million or P755,000 a month; Office supplies P13.5 million or P1.1 million a month; "Other supplies" P19.4 million or P1.6 million a month; Subscription expenses P1.04 million or P86,000 a month; Cooking gas P892,000 or P74,000 a month; Internet P332,597 or P27,716 a month and Cable, satellite, telegraph and radio P300,955 or P25,079 a month.

When we call her our "mahal na Pangulo," that must be what we mean. Napakamahal talaga, di ba?.

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