House to scrutinize intelligence funds of gov’t agencies | Inquirer News

House to scrutinize intelligence funds of gov’t agencies

By: - Reporter / @cynchdbINQ
/ 12:05 AM July 24, 2011

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and Cavite Representative Joseph Emilio Abaya, chair of the committee on appropriations in the House of Representatives, have agreed to subject the intelligence funds of different government agencies to stricter scrutiny to prevent their misuse.

“My personal view is, yes, I would agree,” Belmonte told reporters when asked if the reported abuse of the confidential and intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) would lead to greater scrutiny of such funds when Congress resumes on Monday for its second regular session.

Abaya agreed with Belmonte that the funds should be used only for the collection of intelligence and not by government agencies that have nothing to do with the appreciation of this kind of information.


“It is very insulting that the PCSO got more intelligence funds than the Armed Forces of the Philippines. We should have careful oversight of intelligence funds,” Abaya said.


He said he was in favor of a proposal by Budget Secretary Florencio Abad that clearance procedures be modified to avoid the indiscriminate release of intelligence funds.

Abaya said a request for the release of such funds should be reported to and approved by the President himself after he had been informed of how the funds would be used.

“As part of transparency and accountability, it is important that there is an oversight of intelligence funds,” he stressed.

The House is scheduled next week to start deliberating on the proposed budget of the national government for 2012.

“I’m sure the Department of Budget and Management is aware of environs of the intelligence fund. We will see when the budget is turned over to the House of Representatives,” Abaya added.

During the Senate hearings on the PCSO controversy, the Commission on Audit said that only about P14 million was left of the P190-million PCSO intelligence fund for 2010.


Former PCSO Vice Chair and General Manager Rosario Uriarte said the intelligence funds “released in January 2010 were used for intelligence operations to strengthen the Small Town Lottery, a government initiative to replace illegal numbers games.”

The P150-million was meant to augment P60 million in funds that the PCSO used against text scammers, fixers and the illegal sale of donated medicine.

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Uriarte said that no less than former president and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had approved the release of the funds.

TAGS: Congress, Government, House of Representatives

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