Senate names members of oversight panel on confidential, intel funds

Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 21 2022 06:15 PM

MANILA — Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri on Monday sponsored the measure that would formally constitute a special panel to oversee the use of confidential and intelligence funds (CIF) granted to government agencies for next year. 

In the General Appropriations Bill for 2023, there is an allocation of over P9.28 billion for CIF, which drew opposition from some senators and other groups.

While Zubiri recognized the "necessity" of CIF, he also stressed the importance of remaining vigilant over their use.

“We must ensure that the funds are judiciously and rightly used... We will exercise the full extent of our oversight function: We will monitor the use of these funds; we will go over the reports relevant to each agencies’ use of funds; and we will conduct hearings if necessary," Zubiri said. 

The Senate unanimously adopted the resolution and named its members.

Zubiri would chair the committee, and is joined by Senators Sonny Angara, Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, Majority Leader Joel Villanueva, and Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel as members.

Pimentel called the panel a "second level of defense" but reiterated his position that granting CIF to some agencies is not a good practice.

The grant of CIF to some agencies was among the most contentious issues that emerged during the Senate's week-long marathon debates on the proposed P5.268-trillion national budget for 2023.

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