August 22, 2019
President Rodrigo Duterte's confidential and intelligence expenses in the proposed 2020 budget has almost doubled compared to previous years.
But Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo was immediate in defending the proposed budget amounting to P4.5 billion for confidential and intelligence expenses compared to P2.5 billion each this year and 2018.
For confidential expenses, the proposed allocation for next year is P2.25 billion as against P1.25 billion each for 2019 and last year. A similar amount will be allotted for intelligence expenses for 2020 from P1.25 billion each also in 2019 and the previous year.
Panelo, in a press briefing, justified the proposed budget for President Rodrigo Duterte's intelligence and confidential matters.
"It's appropriate for the Office of the President, it has to have resources to determine the threats against the state. That's needed, and you need money for that," he said.
Asked why not allocate the budget to various line agencies tasked in the security of the country instead, Panelo, also chief presidential legal counsel, said: "So as to help the departments. It's just one, they are still within the Office of the President, all of them."
Like any other government officials, Panelo said Duterte is also accountable.
"The President is not exempted from accountability if you're talking about accountabilities. All those who have been handling the fund are required by law to account, so I don't think there is a problem with that," he explained.
He added that Duterte himself has a strong stance against corruption.
Thus, it would be impossible for the Office of the President to be engaged in corruption using the intelligence and confidential funds, he said. Celerina Monte/DMS
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