Rep. Co: Removal of confidential funds from some agencies a done deal | Inquirer News

Rep. Co: Removal of confidential funds from some agencies a done deal

/ 06:42 PM October 10, 2023

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives’ decision to strip several agencies of confidential funds (CF) in the proposed 2024 national budget is already set in stone, appropriations panel chair and Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Elizaldy Co said on Tuesday.

Co said this after reporters asked if the House would be able to maintain this stand — removing the CFs from the agencies — by the time the bicameral conference committee convenes.

After the Senate approves its version of the proposed budget or the General Appropriations Bill (GAB), a bicameral conference is called to resolve disagreeing provisions.  However, Co believes the Senate would not contradict the House decision.


“Ma-ano niyo no’ng nag announce kami ng we’ll realign the confidential fund, nag-agree kaagad, nag-bow down kaagad ang Senate.  First time po ‘yan na sabi ng Senate, we’ll follow what the House said, and Senator Risa (Hontiveros) nabasa ko pa, na (she said) we will follow our colleague,” Co explained.


(If you remember when we announced that we will realign the confidential fund, they immediately agreed, the Senate immediately bowed down.  That’s the first time that the Senate said that we’ll follow what the House said, and I read that Senator Risa Hontiveros said we will follow our colleagues.)

“And I heard nag executive committee kaagad sila.  That’s their decision, so parang I think it’s already a done deal,” he added.

(And I heard that they immediately held an executive committee meeting.  That’s their decision, so I think it’s already a done deal,)” he added.

After the House leadership — including Co — vowed to realign CFs of civilian offices to agencies protecting the West Philippine Sea (WPS), the Senate also issued the same sentiments.

READ: House eyes cuts in OVP, DepEd confidential funds to boost PCG’s budget

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said last September 27 that they will also reallocate intelligence, confidential, and “unnecessary funds” from various agencies to the Philippine Coast Guard and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.


These commitments from both chambers of Congress came after China’s intrusive activities at the WPS, including areas well within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

Earlier, the small committee tasked by the House of Representatives to resolve individual amendments to the proposed 2024 budget formally announced the removal of CFs of different agencies, including:

  • Office of the Vice President (OVP)
  • Department of Education (DepEd)
  • Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT)
  • Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)
  • Department of Agriculture (DA)

According to appropriations senior vice chair and Marikina 2nd District Rep. Stella Quimbo, the confidential funds proposed by these government offices will be given to agencies at the forefront of protecting the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

READ: House gives zero confidential funds to OVP, DepEd, DICT, DFA, DA

Quimbo said P194 billion of the proposed P5.768 trillion budget were realigned, including P1.2 billion worth of confidential funds.

She explained that only P1.2 billion of the over P4 billion CFs were removed because some agencies’ mandate naturally includes investigation and surveillance.

“Kasi meron naman tayong mga ahensya, halimbawa tulad ng DOJ (Department of Justice), na ang kanilang mandato naman talaga ay kailangan naman talaga ng confidential funds para maperform nila ang mandato nila,” Quimbo said.

(Because we have agencies, for example the DOJ whose mandate really requires the presence of confidential funds to perform.)

“Kasi alam naman natin na by definition, ang confidential funds ay ginagamit para sa surveillance, so kasama dito ang DOJ, kasama dito ang BOC (Bureau of Customs), at iba pa na talagang kailangan naman talaga ng surveillance,” she added.

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(We know that by definition, confidential funds are being used for surveillance, so this includes DOJ, BOC, and other agencies really in need of funds for surveillance.)

TAGS: confidential funds, House, secret funds, Senate

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