MANILA (UPDATED)— The Office of the President, Congress and the Department of National Defense were the top spenders of confidential, intelligence, and extraordinary and miscellaneous funds in 2019, the annual financial report of the Commission on Audit (COA) has revealed.
A total of P13.465 billion worth of expenses described as “confidential, intelligence, extraordinary and miscellaneous” were recorded in 2019, according to COA’s financial report dated Dec. 14, 2020.
Further broken down, the P13.465-billion budget includes “confidential expenses” worth P2.57 billion, intelligence expenses worth P6.12 billion and extraordinary and miscellaneous expenses worth P4.77 billion.
The total amount rose by P2 billion from the restated 2018 total amount of P11.438 billion, with the 3 agencies also topping the list.
The 2019 report said Congress spent P3.98 billion; the defense department, P3.087 billion, and the office of President Rodrigo Duterte, P2.41 billion.
Of the total amount for Congress, P3.57 billion went to the House of Representatives. Meanwhile, the Armed Forces of the Philippines General Headquarters spent P2.54 billion of the total DND intelligence funds.
Aside from Congress, DND and the Office of the President, other government agencies which spent confidential, intelligence and extraordinary and miscellaneous funds in 2019 include the following, said the report:
- Interior and Local Government- P1.794 billion
- Other executive offices- P752 million
- Information and Communication Technology- P307 million
- Justice- P279 million
- Judiciary- P268 million
- Finance- P90 million
- Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao- P82 million
- Other departments and offices- P411 million
Duterte has refused to tell Congress how intelligence funds in the 2021 national budget would be spent, according to a copy of his veto message on this year's spending plan that ABS-CBN News obtained last month.
Duterte said intelligence funds cover programs and projects "related to national security" and matters related to this "are deemed confidential or classified information."
"All activities involving intelligence gathering that have a direct impact on national security and public safety shall be directly submitted to my Office," he told Senate President Vicente Sotto III and House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.
"Consequently, I have to directly veto the proviso... which effectively requires the submission of quarterly reports on the use of intelligence funds to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate of the