Duterte uses up intel, contingency funds | Inquirer News

Duterte uses up intel, contingency funds

By: - Reporter / @NCorralesINQ
/ 06:10 AM April 09, 2022
President Rodrigo Duterte. Image from PCOO / Facebook campaign endorse pdp-laban marcos

President Rodrigo Duterte. (File photo from PCOO Facebook page)

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte said late Thursday that he had already “depleted” the contingency and intelligence funds allotted to his office purportedly because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The pandemic depleted my contingency and intelligence fund,” Duterte said in a speech during the groundbreaking ceremony of the Overseas Filipino Workers’ Center in Las Piñas City.

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The President did not specify whether he was referring to his contingency and intelligence funds for 2021—the validity of which Congress extended to the end of this year—or under the current spending law.

Duterte used the supposed fund depletion to justify the continued operation of online cockfighting, called e-sabong, which supposedly earns the government P640 million a month.

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“Where can I find P640 million a month?” the President asked. “I need the money for those expenses that are not in the budget or those you won’t get from the budget, so you need money from outside sources.”

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. earlier said it earned P3.7 billion from April to December last year from e-sabong and has so far earned P1.4 billion this year.

But e-sabong has been criticized because it has resulted in gambling addiction and allegedly deadly competition among gaming operators.

The Senate has initiated an investigation of the disappearance of 31 e-sabong players allegedly involved in fixing cockfights, but the sole e-sabong franchisee, businessman Atong Ang, claimed that the probe was instigated by competitors who wanted the e-sabong franchise for themselves.

Last week, the Manila police arrested a young Calabarzon regional police officer who just graduated last year for allegedly splurging some P500,000 meant for drug sting operations in e-sabong.

The 24-year-old police lieutenant brazenly disobeyed orders from superiors and pawned a car he borrowed from a subordinate so he could pay off debts from e-sabong.

In his speech, the President said he would be willing to forgo billions of pesos in revenue and stop e-sabong operations, but only before he ends his term on June 30.

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“If it is true, I’ll stop it. You can be assured that before I go, I will stop it if it is true. But I have to sacrifice, I said, the billions that we would have earned if it was there,” he said.

RELATED STORY:
Duterte justifies continued e-sabong ops: ‘Wag niyo na lang anuhin ‘yan’

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TAGS: contingency funds, e-sabong, intelligence funds, Rodrigo Duterte
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