Gabriela wants alleged ‘misuse’ of DICT’s confidential funds probed
MANILA, Philippines — Gabriela Women’s Party on Monday called on the House of Representatives to investigate the alleged “misuse” of the Department of Information and Communication Technology’s (DICT) confidential funds following the resignation of Undersecretary Eliseo Rio.
The group noted that in his resignation letter dated January 30, Rio revealed that there were questionable disbursements of P300 million in confidential funds of the DICT.
“Such revelation points to the possibility of more cases of misuse of public funds and multi-billion technical malversation to possibly suit the counterinsurgency thrust of the Duterte regime under the whole-of-nation approach,” the party-list group said in a statement.
The whole-of-nation approach is embodied under Executive Order no. 70 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte last December 4, which directed the adoption of a national peace framework to end local communist armed conflicts through the creation of a national task force.
Gabriela also urged more government officials to speak up on anomalies, saying that public funds “are being funneled into counterinsurgency operations which bend the mandates and functions of institutions.”
“For 2020, the General Appropriations Act has no explicit line item for NTF-ELCAC yet it aggressively directs agencies to implement programs and activities to abide by the whole-of-nation approach under EO 70,” the party-list group said.
In an interview over ANC, Rio said that he feels that he is no longer needed in the DICT.
Rio also denied having first-hand knowledge of the reported anomaly involving confidential funds at DICT but said that he disagrees with DICT having confidential intelligence fund since carrying out intelligence activities are not under the agency’s mandate.
Rio previously served as acting secretary of the agency.
He was reassigned as the agency’s undersecretary in July 2019 when Gringo Honasan was appointed DICT chief.
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