Congress has no confidential, intel funds; P3.98B used for miscellaneous items in 2019 – COA
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Audit (COA) clarified Wednesday that Congress has no confidential and intelligence funds and that the P3.980 billion it used in 2019 was for miscellaneous expenses.
COA said in a message to reporters on Wednesday that Congress’ miscellaneous consumption was enumerated below the category “confidential, intelligence, and extraordinary and miscellaneous expenses” or CIF because miscellaneous outlays are grouped under this part of its 2019 Annual Financial Report.
Media reports earlier indicated that Congress was the top spender of confidential and intelligence funds in 2019 at P3.980 billion, topping other offices like the Department of National Defense (DND), which ranked second with P3.980 billion, and the Office of the President, which came in third with P2.410 billion.
“Contrary to recent news reports, neither the House of Representatives nor the Senate of the Philippines had confidential or intelligence funds in the 2019 budget,” COA pointed out.
It further explained the differences between the three ledger accounts — confidential expenses, intelligence expenses, and extraordinary and miscellaneous expenses — and why they are lumped in the same category.
“The sub-major account category Confidential, Intelligence, and Extraordinary Expenses refer to three general ledger accounts: confidential expenses (related to surveillance activities in civilian government agencies), intelligence expenses (related to intelligence information gathering activities of uniformed, military personnel and intelligence practitioners), and extraordinary and miscellaneous expenses (incidental to the performance of official functions),” COA said.
“The Revised Chart of Accounts was adopted to conform to the International Public Sector Accounting Standards,” it added.
According to COA’s report, the total CIF funds spent under the Duterte administration for 2019 was at P13.46 billion, of which Congress’ expenditures account for 29.56 percent. DND’s share was at 22.93 percent, while the Office of the President has 17.90 percent.
Majority of the total P13.46 billion CIF went to intelligence projects or operations at P6.120 billion; Extraordinary and Miscellaneous Expenses at P4.775 billion, and Confidential Expenses at P2.570 billion.
COA said activities like meetings, seminars, conferences, and other matters like office supplies and public relations, among others, may be classified as extraordinary and miscellaneous expenses. It noted that the P3.980 billion spent by Congress in 2019 falls under this ledger.
“Extraordinary and Miscellaneous Expenses, as provided under Section 47 of the General Provisions of the FY 2019 General Appropriations Act include, but are not limited to, expenses incurred for various activities such as meetings, seminars and conferences; office equipment and supplies; public relations; educational, athletic and cultural activities; subscription to professional, technical journals and informative magazines, library book and materials; and other similar expenses not supported by the regular budget allocation,” COA stressed.
Aside from Congress, DND, and the Office of the President, other government offices with noted CIF expenditures in COA’s 2019 Annual Financial Report are:
- 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)
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