MANILA, Philippines - Former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office officials during the Arroyo administration clearly violated existing rules on the use of confidential and intelligence funds, Budget Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad said Tuesday.
In a statement, Abad said it is questionable for the PCSO to have confidential and intelligence funds purportedly for anti-illegal gambling operations.
"PCSO officials and staff aren’t even soldiers or criminal investigators. What’s worse is that the supposed PCSO CIF was used not for intelligence operations, and that they circumvented proper processes to expedite the release," he said.
Abad said the release of P325 million in PCSO intelligence funds from 2008 to 2010 was done in a vulgar fashion.
He said the PCSO's P160 million intelligence fund for 2010 was bigger than the combined P157.4-million CIF budget of the Department of National Defense and Armed Forces of the Philippines in the same year.
Former PCSO General Manager Rosario Uriarte earlier admitted dipping into the PCSO’s intelligence funds to pay for blood money of incarcerated overseas Filipino workers, and to cover expenses for relief operations and assistance during calamities.
She said President Arroyo approved the fund releases personally.
Abad said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) will release stricter rules on the use of confidential and intelligence funds.
“Once the new rules are released, all CIF fund uses will be subject to strict liquidation. Mere certification of CIF fund uses will not be allowed,” he said.
Section 22 of the 2010 General Appropriations Act states that CIFs may only be released upon approval of the President, and that at least 80% of CIFs shall be used for field operations.
Departments and agencies using CIFs shall submit to the Senate President, House Speaker and Commission on Audit Chairman a quarterly report on the accomplishments in the use of confidential and intelligence funds.