Senate may restore realigned P1.2B secret funds ‘but not under CIF’
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate may restore some or the entire P1.23 billion earlier earmarked as confidential funds of specific government, Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva said Tuesday.
If restored, Villanueva explained, the amount would be “itemized” in the Senate version of the proposed P5.768-trillion national budget for 2024.
“Ang napag-usapan, we can restore some of it or all kung kailangan but not under CIF (confidential and intelligence fund),” he said in a message.
“At kung magbabalik man, it has to be itemized,” the senator pointed out.
While some of his colleagues opposed the decision not to restore the P1.23 billion as confidential funds, Villanueva noted that an “overwhelming majority” of senators are against granting CIF to civilian agencies.
It was only last month when the House of Representatives decided to strip five civilian government agencies of their proposed confidential funds for 2024.
These are the Office of the Vice President, Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Information and Communications Technology, Department of Agriculture, and Department of Foreign Affairs.
Vice President Sara Duterte happens to be the concurrent head of DepEd.
The five agencies were among the 11 government offices whose confidential funds amounting to P1.23 billion were either removed or realigned by the lower chamber.
Villanueva, however, clarified that the decision to restore the P1.23 billion entirely or partially will still be subject to discussions.
Starting Wednesday, November 8, the Senate will hold morning sessions to deliberate on the proposed 2024 national budget.