Press Release
October 27, 2008


Senator Chiz Escudero wants to know if the equipment the PNP sought to buy out of the 105, 000 euros former PNP General Eliseo dela Paz brought to Russia had presidential approval.

This after the opposition senator disclosed that when it comes to intelligence funds, the buck stops with the President citing a long standing provision in the national budget which grants the President the sole authority to approve its release.

"Under budget laws, the President is the sole issuer of intelligence funds. She is the disburser-in-chief of 'intel' money".

Escudero said if the PNP will insist that the equivalent of P6.9 million that a retired police general hand carried to Russia was for spy gears , then there must be a paper trail asking the Office of the President's approval for such a purchase.

The "shopping list" must have the approval of Malacanang, "as the latter's dominion over the budget is so great that no government agency today can buy a tricycle without the permission of the Office of the President."

He was referring to a rule requiring Malacanang clearance for the purchase "of anything that has a motor in it and move on wheels."

The senator said that while the President is not expected to "micromanage" the use of intelligence funds, it is safe to assume that she does not 'rubber stamp' the approval of request for intelligence funds either.

The "administrative practice", he explained, is that approval for the release of funds is preceded by "the justification of the requesting agency and the evaluation made by the approving authority."

This power is reiterated in Section 20 of the General Provisions of Republic Act 9498, the General Appropriations Act for 2008, which states that "no amount in this Act shall be released or disbursed for confidential and intelligence activities unless approved by the President of the Philippines."

In addition to intelligence funds provided for in the budgets of agencies, "savings authorized by special provisions to be used for intelligence and counter-intelligence activities can be released only upon approval of the President of the Philippines," the section further reads.

And once released, the 80 percent of funds must be used for field operations, as required by the same section.

The justification usually centers on "the programs, projects, and activities" to be funded including the equipment that will be bought, he said.

For 2008, the amount of P1.360 billion had been appropriated for "confidential and intelligence expenses" of 20 agencies.

By biggest recipient, the Office of the President tops the list, with P650 million, P500 of which is for the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission.

Next is the Philippine National Police with P270 million ; followed by the Department of National Defense with P151.6 million, of which about P119 million is shared by the AFP General Headquarters and the three major armed services.

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