Duterte admin's confidential, intelligence spending climbs to P13.47 billion in 2019

The Duterte administration's confidential and intelligence spending went up by P2.03 billion to P13.47 billion in 2019, the Commission on Audit (COA) said.

According to COA's 2019 annual financial report, majority or P1.46 billion of the P2.03-billion increase came from extraordinary and miscellaneous expenses.

Of the total amount, P6.12 billion was spent for intelligence expenses, while P2.57 billion was for confidential expenditure.

According to the state auditor's 2019 annual financial report, the following agencies spent the most in terms of combined confidential and intelligence expenses:

  • Department of National Defense - P3.08 billion
  • Office of the President - P2.4 billion
  • Department of the Interior and Local Government - P1.78 billion

For extraordinary expenses, the Congress of the Philippines spent the most at P3.98 billion, which is 83.26% of the total P4.78 billion. According to COA, bulk or P3.57 billion of the released amount from Congress' extraordinary expenses was spent by the House of Representatives.

The following agencies also spent for confidential, intelligence, and extraordinary expenses:

  • Other Executive Offices - P752.7 million
  • Department of Information and Communications Technology - P307.31 million
  • Department of Justice - P279.09 million
  • The Judiciary - P268.52 million
  • Department of Finance - P90.94 million
  • Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao - P82.67 million

COA's 2019 AFR was submitted to the Office of the President, the Senate president, the Senate committee on finance, the Office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the House committee on appropriations last December 15, 2020.

Confidential and intelligence funds are red flags for advocates of government transparency and accountability because the offices that spend them are not required to produce receipts or publicly disclose expenses due to their sensitive nature. (READ: Why intelligence funds require scrutiny)

They are considered as lump sum funds as well, since there are no breakdowns specifically provided for these under the national budget. 

Since President Rodrigo Duterte's first full year in office in 2017, confidential, intelligence, and extraordinary expenses jumped from P3.687 billion in 2015 and P4.44 billion in 2016, to P9.42 billion in 2017 and P11.439 in 2018. – with reports from Aika Rey/Rappler.com