Koko Pimentel to three gov’t agencies: Don’t start habit of secret, intel funds
MANILA, Philippines — Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Wednesday appealed to three government agencies not to start the practice of having confidential and intelligence funds (CIFs).
Three agencies with CIFs in their proposed 2023 budgets are the Office of the Vice President or OVP (P500 million), the Department of Education or DepEd (P150 million), and the Office of the Solicitor General or OSG (P19.2 million). These agencies did not have CIFs in their previous annual budgets.
Currently, the OVP and DepEd are at the helm of Sara Duterte while the OSG is led by Menardo Guevarra.
“Siguro pwedeng pakiusap dito sa mga ‘to na huwag nang umpisahan ‘yung practice, though how many years wala naman silang confidential funds, umpisahan nila ‘yung bagong practice. Hirap na pong pigilan ‘yan kapag naumpisahan na,” he said during the plenary session on the proposed P5.268-trillion national budget for 2023.
(Maybe we can ask these agencies not to start the practice of CIFs, though for how many years they do not have confidential funds, they will start with the new practice. It will be hard to stop that once it starts.)
Pimentel also stressed that the amount of CIFs for the three agencies is “enormous.”
Senator Sonny Angara, however, argued: “Well, the amount seems enormous to us, Your honor. But I suppose we should also take it in perspective that the budget is also growing.”
Angara, being the chair of the Senate committee on finance, was defending the 2023 national budget on the Senate floor.
Earlier, Pimentel pushed for the re-channeling of CIFs to calamity response as Severe Tropical Storm Paeng (international name: Nalgae) caused widespread devastation in many parts of the country.
— Trisha Manalaysay, trainee
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