‘A bit too much:’ Lacson to scrutinize intel funds under Duterte’s office
MANILA, Philippines — Saying it is a “bit too much,” Senator Panfilo Lacson on Friday said he intends to scrutinize the intelligence funds allocated in the proposed budget of the Office of the President for 2021.
Lacson said he wants to know how the Office of the President spent its intelligence funds in the previous years.
“We want to find out, and I myself intend to ask this question when the Office of the President’s budget is up for discussion. ‘Pag sinabi mong P4.5 billion a year under one agency, which is the Office of the President, which is not a big office, how do they spend that? Yun ang tanong,” he said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel.
Under the proposed P4.5 trillion national budget for 2021, Lacson said intelligence funds allocated under the Office of the President “is a little lower” than the P4.5 billion it was given this year.
“But it’s still a bit too much. It started I think with P700 plus million. I cannot recall anymore which administration,” he said.
“And then it ballooned to something like P2 billion, P2.5 billion and now it’s more than P4 billion just for the Office of the President,” he added, pointing out that the President also has access to intelligence funds under other agencies in the Executive Department.
The Chief Executive can control the release of intelligence funds under the Department of National Defense, the Philippine National Police, the National Security Agency, the Bureau of Customs, and the Bureau of Internal Revenue, according to Lacson.
“The President has control over other intelligence funds of the entire bureaucracy. Kung gusto niyang i-control yung release he can control,” he said.
Further, Lacson pointed out that the Office of the President also receives remittances from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation which run to “billions of pesos a year.”
Under the proposed spending plan for next year, the Office of the President has requested P8.23 billion for next year, lower than the P8.25 billion for 2020.
Of this figure, P2.25 billion will be allocated for confidential funds while another P2.25 billion will go to intelligence funds.
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