Commission on Audit

COA open to revisit guidelines on confidential, intelligence funds

Jairo Bolledo

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

COA open to revisit guidelines on confidential, intelligence funds

COA. The building of the Commission on Audit in Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City taken on October 2, 2018.


COA chairperson Gamaliel Cordoba says they will call a meeting with concerned government agencies to discuss updates on guidelines

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Audit (COA), which has the mandate to audit the spending of government funds, said it is open to reviewing existing guidelines on the use of confidential and intelligence funds (CIF).

Actually po, maganda po ‘yung inyong mungkahi. Because of the increasing confidential and intelligence funds, we will try to convene po interagency with the same interagency committee na nag-promulgate po nitong rules na ito so para ma-update natin ’cause medyo matagal na rin…2015, that’s 80 years ago,” COA Chairperson Gamaliel Cordoba said during the body’s budget hearing in Congress on Thursday, August 24.

(Actually, your suggestion is good. Because of the increasing confidential and intelligence funds, we will try to convene with the same interagency committee that promulgated these rules so we can update them already because it’s been a long time. 2015, that’s 80 years ago.)

The idea to review the COA guidelines was brought up by Kabataan Representative Raoul Manuel when he asked if the COA was willing to revisit the rules governing CIF. By definition, confidential funds are meant to be used for “surveillance activities in civilian government agencies that are intended to support the mandate or operations of the said agency.”

Unlike other funds used by the government, CIF are not subject to the same rigorous auditing processes as other government funds. Based on the proposed budget for 2024, the government is asking for P10.14 billion in CIF across government agencies – majority of which will go to the offices of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Vice President Sara Duterte.

The hike in the budget allotted for CIF started during former president Rodrigo Duterte’s term, apparently maintained by his successor.

Cordoba, during the hearing, said they will call for a meeting with other agencies within the third quarter of the year.

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According to the COA, the grant and liquidation of CIF are covered by Joint Circular No. 2015-01, dated January 8, 2015. The circular includes the COA, the Department of Budget and Management, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Department of National Defense, and the Governance Commission for Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations.

The said circular states that intelligence funds can only be used for counter-intelligence activities and special projects and operations. Meanwhile, confidential funds can be used to purchase information necessary in the implementation of a government program, among others.

Since the funds are supposedly intended for programs to protect national security, the specific uses of CIF are not disclosed to the public. In reviewing the expenditure of CIF, state auditors rely on the certifications of government agencies, since receipts are not always available for the transactions. – with research from Marjorie delos Reyes/

Marjorie delos Reyes, a Rappler intern, is a Development Communication student at UP Los Baños. Learn more about Rappler’s internship program here.

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Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering justice, police, and crime.