Senate sets up body to look into use of billion-peso intel funds
Amid threats to national security, the Senate has created an oversight committee on intelligence and confidential funds that would look into, among others, the efficiency of government institutions in providing “accurate” and “timely” intelligence information.
The proposal to create the oversight committee was contained in Senate Resolution No. 361 filed by Senator Gringo Honasan, chairman of the Senate committee on national defense and security. No senator objected when Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III moved to adopt the committee Monday night.
Senate President Aqulino “Koko” Pimentel III, who was presiding over the session, immediately named the members of the committee — four from the majority group and two from the minority, plus the ex officio members.
The committee will be composed of its chairman, Honasan, and its members — Senators Panfilo Lacson, Richard Gordon, Manny Pacquiao, from the majority bloc; and Deputy Minority Leader Bam Aquino and Senator Francis Pangilinan from the minority group.
“In light of the recent threats to our country’s national security, including disturbance to peace and order by lawless elements, the importance of gathering intelligence information by concerned government agencies cannot be overstated,” the resolution said.
The resolution noted that the same committee was also created during the past Congresses.
There is a need, it said, to reconstitute the Select Oversight Committee on Intelligence and Confidential Funds “to enable the Senate to oversee the efficiency of concerned government institutions in the production of accurate and timely intelligence information to better deal with the threats to national security, including the maintenance of peace and order, thereby providing a safety environment and secure place of abode to the people.”
The resolution also pointed out that the intelligence and confidential funds “are not subject to the regular auditing rules and procedures of the Commission on Audit.”
Congress has allotted P5.48 billion in the 2017 national budget for confidential and intelligence funds (CIF) to implement programs and activities of the government, relative to national defense, peace and order, and national security. CBB/rga
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