THE big increase in the intelligence and confidential funds of the Office of the President alarms opposition solons who said that this would result in more extrajudicial killings and anomalies in government.
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, a member of the House “Legitimate” Minority bloc, was reacting to reports that the intelligence and confidential funds of President Rodrigo Duterte for 2017 had increased to P2.5 billion.
This is a 400 percent increase from the last funds of ex-President Benigno Aquino III, which only amounted to P500 million.
“The inordinate 400 percent increase in the President’s confidential and intelligence funds in the combined augmentation of P2.0 billion for 2017 from P500 million in 2016 is alarming in the face of extrajudicial and shortcut procedures employed by the present administration in pursuing its announced priorities,” Lagman said.
Out of the P3.66 billion total intelligence and confidential budget of all government agencies, the OP has the highest with P2.5 billion.
According to Lagman, the expenditure of confidential and intelligence funds traditionally defies or does not follow regular accounting procedures.
“The fund utilization is subject to abuse which is difficult to validate due to the lack of paper trails and dearth of verifiable accounts,” Lagman said.