Senators agree to remove secret funds of gov’t agencies with civilian function

(INQUIRER) MANILA, Philippines — Senators have unanimously agreed to remove the confidential funds of all civilian agencies of government contained in the proposed P5.768-trillion national budget next year.

At least three senators—Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva, and Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Francis Escudero— confirmed this in separate instances  on Tuesday.

During the regular session of the Senate, Estrada mentioned parts of what transpired during their caucus on Monday as he denied news reports that senators were divided on the controversial P1.23 billion confidential funds.

“We never voted with regard to all the intelligence fund or confidential  fund,” he said.

“In fact, we agreed unanimously to remove all the confidential and intelligence funds not only that of the Office of the Vice President, not only that of the Department of Education but all civilian agencies na merong confidential and intelligence funds,” Estrada said.

Escudero confirmed Estrada’s statement.

“I  hope you and I will not be sanctioned for saying part of what happened, as you said,  it was the unanimous, consensus  of the members of the Senate in  executive session,” he said.

In a separate message, Villanueva also said there was a consensus to strip all civilian agencies of confidential funds.

“Basta wala CIF (confidential and intelligence funds) sa civilian agencies. Retain ang tinanggal ng HOR (House of Representatives)  sa CIF,” he added,

Among the agencies  that received zero confidential funds from the  House include the Office of the  Vice President, and the Department of Education  (DepEd)and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT). House gives zero confidential funds to OVP, DepEd, DICT, DFA, DA

Vice President Sara Duterte also heads  the DepEd.