COA: Congress, DND, Duterte’s office top spenders of confidential, intel funds in 2019
MANILA, Philippines — Congress topped the list of government offices that utilized the highest amount of confidential, intelligence, and extraordinary and miscellaneous funds (CIF) at P3.980 billion in 2019, while President Rodrigo Duterte’s office came in third with P2.410 billion, according to the Commission on Audit (COA).
COA released a list of CIF top spenders in its 2019 Annual Financial Report that was posted on its website on Monday. Based on the list, the Department of National Defense (DND) spent P3.087 billion of CIF funds, ranking next to Congress.
Total CIF funds spent under the Duterte administration for 2019 was at P13.46 billion, of which Congress’ expenditures account for 29.56 percent while DND’s share was at 22.93 percent, and the Office of the President at 17.90 percent.
COA did not provide a breakdown of the CIF spending for each government department or office but showed the majority of the total P13.46 billion CIF went to intelligence projects or operations at P6.120 billion.
On the other hand, COA said Extraordinary and Miscellaneous Expenses were at P4.775 billion, and Confidential Expenses were at P2.570 billion.
Trailing Congress, DND, and the Office of the President in the utilization of the 2019 CIF were the following offices:
- Department of Interior and Local Government (P1.794 billion, 13.92 percent)
- Other executive offices (P752.7 million, 5.59 percent)
- Department of Information and Communication Technology (P303.7 million, 2.28 percent)
- Department of Justice (P279.0 million, 2.07 percent)
- Judiciary (P268.5 million, 2.00 percent)
- Department of Finance (P90.93 million, 0.68 percent)
- Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (P82.67 million, 0.61 percent)
- Other departments/ offices (P411.6 million, 3.06 percent)
But COA clarified later Wednesday that Congress has no confidential and intelligence funds and that the P3.980 billion it used in 2019 was for miscellaneous expenses.
The confidential and intelligence funds of government offices have been one of the heavily criticized allocations by national budget watchdogs and opposition members, questioning the purpose of earmarking fat portions to these items.
Amid the health crisis, lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc — a group critical of the administration — have urged the President to let go of his intelligence fund and use it for the COVID-19 pandemic response instead.
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