COA: Duterte, Marcos spent P4.5 billion confidential funds in 2022
October 12, 2023 | 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the President (OP), under the shared terms of President Marcos and former president Rodrigo Duterte, spent P4.5 billion in confidential and intelligence funds (CIF) in 2022, according to the Commission on Audit (COA).
The OP accounted for almost half of the P9.34-billion total CIF spending of the national government for the year, based on the “2022 Annual Financial Report for the National Government” uploaded on COA’s website last Oct. 9.
The OP’s CIF spending included P2.25 billion in confidential expenses and another P2.25 billion in intelligence expenses.
The audit breakdown showed that OP’s confidential expenses accounted for 61.28 percent of the P3.67-billion total confidential fund (CF) spending of the government for the year.
The OP’s intelligence expenses represented 39.69 percent of the P5.67-billion total intelligence fund (IF) spending of the government.
In 2021, the OP under Duterte incurred P4.5 billion in CIF expenses.
Overall, the national government’s CIF spending decreased by P445.95 million, from P9.79 billion in 2021 to P9.34 billion in 2022.
The Senate finance committee yesterday approved in less than half an hour the OP’s proposed 2024 budget, including its request for P4.56 billion in CIF.
After around 20 minutes of deliberation, Senate finance committee chair Sonny Angara moved for the OP’s proposed P10.7-billion budget to be approved at the committee level and up for plenary debate.
No other senator was present to grill officials from Malacañang, led by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin.
The OP has requested P2.25 billion in confidential funds and another P2.31 billion in intelligence funds, according to the 2024 National Expenditure Program.
In his opening remarks, Bersamin said the OP’s 2024 budget request is a “modest increase” from its approved 2023 budget of P9.092 billion.
The OP has the biggest increase in capital outlay budget – up by 183.72 percent from its 2023 allocation of P590.794 million to P1.676 billion requested for next year.
This was mostly for the retrofitting of government buildings to be earthquake-proof, the reconstruction of the Mabini Hall Building and the rehabilitation of OP properties in Metro Manila and Baguio.
In an interview after the hearing, Angara said he did not have an issue with the OP’s hefty secret fund allocation next year, despite Congress realigning CIF allocations from civilian to national and security agencies. – Marc Jayson Cayabyab