Pimentel quizzes COA for having its own confidential, intel funds
MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel on Monday questioned the confidential and intelligence funds of the Commission on Audit (COA) amounting to P10 million.
“Do you have your own CIF (confidential and intelligence fund)? Why do you need it?” Pimentel asked COA before the Senate plenary deliberation on COA’s P13.36 billion proposed budget.
Senator Sonny Angara said it is for their witness protection program (WPP) but Pimentel noted that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is equipped for that purpose.
“They also need to purchase information sometimes, and they need to protect the witnesses, especially those who attend hearings and testify against government officials,” Angara, who chairs the Senate committee on ways and means, said.
Pimentel said: “The DOJ has such a program. You want your own program?”
“I mean, in this case, it’s their own employees that they wish to protect,” Angara responded.
Pressed again by Pimentel if COA could cooperate with the DOJ’s WPP, Angara has this to say.
“They can, in theory, but they don’t. I think it’s also to protect, to keep the information — I don’t know the correct word in these circles — maybe to containerize or compartmentalize [the investigation],” Angara said.