P9.29-B intel fund is too much - Lagman
By Rhaydz B. Barcia
LEGAZPI CITY --- Rep. Edcel C. Lagman of Albay’s second district contested the inclusion of P9.29 billion confidential and intelligence funds in the 2023 national budget.
The Bicolano lawmaker assailed the proposal by some legislators to appropriate P9.29-B as confidential and intelligence funds of different offices, agencies, and departments. He said the P9.29-B intelligence fund “is much bigger than the appropriations of several government offices and departments combined including the constitutional commissions and their offices,” the opposition lawmaker said.
Lagman, the newly elected chairman of Liberal Party, also opposed the P650 million confidential and intelligence funds allotted to the Office of Vice President and the Department of Education, which are under the supervision of Vice-President Sara Duterte.
“No stretch of imagination or flexibility of logic can justify the P500 million confidential and intelligence fund for the Office of the Vice President (OVP) and another P150 million for the Department of Education (DepEd), both under Vice President Sara Duterte,” he said.
“The OVP is not a surveillance agency and has no jurisdiction over matters of national security,” the legislator said.
Lagman even said that the novels of Agatha Christie and the exploits of Sherlock Holmes are not staple readings for basic education and the mandate of DepEd does not include detective activities.
“Since the utilization of confidential and intelligence funds are shrouded in mystery and the supposed audit by the Commission on Audit (COA) could not be disclosed to the Congress and the public, these funds breed corruption, and the more enormous the funds are, the greater the magnitude is for the possibility of graft,” the lawmaker said.
He urged the Congress to exercise judiciousness and frugality in the allocation of confidential and intelligence funds. “I reiterate my call to the Congress to exercise judiciousness and frugality in the allocation of confidential and intelligence funds,’ Lagman said.