P37M ‘missing’ SAF funds returned

Police commandos have started receiving their daily allowance following the return of more than half of the missing daily additional subsistence allowance of the Special Action Force (SAF), after more than two years.

According to then chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald dela Rosa, the new SAF commander, Director Noli Talino, started distributing the funds last Monday after a total of PhP 37 million was given back to the SAF by its former budget officer.

“They are trying to return the money. Maybe the money is in their hands and they just did not release it, and now that a case was already filed, they released,” said Dela Rosa.

The PhP 37-million of the almost PhP 60 million missing funds was given in two batches, sources said.

Initially, PhP 10 million was returned through the current SAF budget officer a day before the filing of the plunder case before the Office of the Ombudsman on the second week of April. Another PhP 27 million was returned last April 13.

The complaints learned that at least two former officers of SAF were involved in the missing funds including former SAF commander Director Benjamin Lusad and former SAF budget officer Senior Supt. Andre Dizon.

During the confrontation, sources said the officers involved apologizes as the money was used for other purposes. But the officers involved reportedly could not produce proofs of how the almost PhP 60 million was spent.

“I relieved them and put them under the Office of the Chief PNP then to the PHAU (Personnel Holding and Accounting Unit) to give way to an impartial investigation,” said dela Rosa.

Dela Rosa also said that although more than half of the money was already returned, the involved officers will not spare them from the case they are currently facing.

“Returning the money would not clear them from the complaint filed against them. The complaint stays and the investigation should go on whether or not the money is returned,” said Dela Rosa.

The case of plunder filed against the two former SAF commanders is a non-bailable offense.

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