MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte claimed on Thursday, April 7, that he has already used up his intelligence funds during the pandemic.
Duterte talked about using up all the funds to justify why he could not suspend e-sabong operations outright.
“‘Yon ang maitulong ko agad, ’yung pandemic – naubos contingency [fund] ko pati intelligence fund,” said Duterte. (I used for assistance for the pandemic – my contigency fund and intelligence fund were all used up.)
The President said that the police and military still have their own confidential and intelligence funds.
“Binigyan ko lang ’yung police at military. Sabi ko, ‘You just have to work [with] it. Eh kung magkailangan kayo maggawa ng intelligence, maglakad ka kasi wala tayong pera,'” Duterte added.
(I only gave the police and military their budget. I said, ‘You just have to work with it. If you need to conduct intelligence activities, you have to walk because we don’t have money.)
It was unclear which fiscal year Duterte was referring to, but Malacañang in 2020 said that part of the President’s P2.25-billion confidential funds were spent for COVID-19 efforts.
The Office of the President is not required to produce receipts or publicly disclose expenses due to its sensitive nature.
Duterte has enjoyed P4.5 billion in confidential and intelligence funds since 2020.
Asked for comment, the Department of Budget and Management said that using it for pandemic initiatives is allowed given the discretionary nature of the fund.
Confidential and intelligence funds, however, are not allowed to be used to pay salaries, consultancy fees, and construction or acquisition of building infrastructure. – Rappler.com