Big chunk of 2017 intel funds spent by only 3 institutions – COA
MANILA, Philippines – Nearly 3/4 of the national government's confidential and intelligence funds in 2017 amounting to P8.98 billion were spent by only 3 institutions, the Commission on Audit (COA) said in its annual financial report released on Thursday, October 25.
The Office of the President spent P2.515 billion, the Department of National Defense (DND) spent P2.222 billion, while Congress spent P1.797 billion – for a total of P6.5 billion or 72.87% of the 2017 Confidential, Intelligence, and Extraordinary Expenses (CIE).
The other 27.13% were spent by other government agencies, including:
- Department of the Interior and Local Government (P883.46 million)
- Other executive offices (P434.716 million)
- Department of Justice (P346.372 million)
- Judiciary (P236.898 million)
- Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (P104.502 million)
- Department of Finance (P77.243 million)
- Department of Education (P47.643 million)
- Others (P301.632 million)
The national government's CIE of P8.98 billion in 2017 was also nearly twice the P4.52 billion in 2016.
The Office of the President's CIE, meanwhile, significantly increased year-on-year. In 2016, it only proposed P250 million for its intelligence funds. (READ: EXPLAINER: Office of the President's confidential, intel funds)
No explanation, however, was available in the financial statements of the office. (READ: Are Duterte's multimillion-peso intel funds achieving their purpose?)
The Armed Forces of the Philippines' General Headquarters, which spent P1.682 billion under the DND, said the increase "was due to the massive and extensive intelligence and counterintelligence activities during the Marawi crisis."
The Philippine National Police, which spent P845.51 million in confidential and intelligence funds in 2017, attributed the increase to its anti-drug campaign.
Details of the allocation of these funds or where they were actually used for may not be fully disclosed to the public due to their nature. (WATCH: Confidential, intel funds difficult to audit – ex-COA chair)
But Joint Circular No. 2015-01 explicitly states guidelines regarding the use of confidential and intelligence funds. For example, these funds cannot be used to pay salaries and other benefits, representation or consultancy fees, or to construct or buy buildings or houses.
Documentary evidence are also still needed for the release of these funds, but are separately handled by COA personnel for security reasons. – Rappler.com