Press Release
October 13, 2010


Senator Franklin Drilon on Wednesday denounced what he dubbed as "illegal and repugnant" expansion of the mandate of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) done by the past administration without the approval of Congress.

Under the original charter, NICA was simply a coordinating agency tasked to coordinate and analyze intelligence information gathered by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation, among others. During the Arroyo administration, NICA engaged in its own intelligence gathering, said Drilon, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

"With the expanded functions of NICA which were improperly and illegally done, there is the danger of reviving the National Intelligence and Security Authority (NISA) and this is what we will prevent," Drilon said after a hearing on the proposed P442.346 million budget of NICA for 2011. "NICA is only a coordinating agency and should not perform line functions."

NISA, which was replaced by NICA by virtue of Executive Order 246 issued by the late President Corazon Aquino in 1987, has been primarily accused of human rights violations during martial law.

In its charter, Drilon said, NICA was supposed to be a mere coordinating agency. But Arroyo expanded its mandate by issuing various fiats and authorizing it to gather intelligence information, instead of simply analyzing and coordinating intelligence information gathered by agencies.

Drilon revealed that Arroyo had issued Administrative Order 68 and Executive Orders 69 and 608 that in effect empowered the NICA to have intelligence agents and employ foreign liaison officers.

He said Arroyo "played favorites" and had "no regard to structures and rule of law and they just ruled on whim and not on the basis of what the law is." He added that NICA's function of having foreign liaison officers is a "clear duplication" of the function of military attachés.

"NICA should not have intelligence agents. They should be transferred to the pertinent agencies which gather intelligence information," said the senator, adding that all foreign liaison officers should be recalled.

NICA, which has 13 regional offices with 811 positions and six intelligence attachés in London, China, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Malaysia and Indonesia "was creating regional offices without the clearance of the DBM [Department of Budget and Management]," Drilon said, noting that the six attachés overseas were created through a lump sum item in their budget under intelligence funds.

As such, Drilon asked DBM to rationalize the operation of NICA "as part of the reforms in the government." He said that the DBM should recommend the repeal of the executive issuances that expanded NICA's functions.

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