MANILA, Philippines – President Aquino is keeping P650 million in intelligence funds that former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had at her disposal each year during her nine-year watch.
Of that amount, P500 million used to be under the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission, but Mr. Aquino abolished the PACC and replaced it with the Anti-Transnational Organized Crime Commission (ATOCC).
In his proposed P1.645-trillion 2011 national budget, the President gave the new anti-crime body an outlay of about P525 million, “including P500 million for confidential and intelligence expenses to be released upon the approval of the Office of the President.”
The balance of P25 million is for “personal services,” the budget language for salaries.
Additionally, on page 13 of Mr. Aquino’s budget proposal, there is more than P1.4 billion in “general administration and support services,” which includes P150 million “for confidential and intelligence expenses to be released upon the approval of the President.”
Thus, President Aquino will have at his disposal next year a total of P650 million in intelligence funds, the same amount that then President Arroyo had every year from 2001 up to last June 30.
All told, Mrs. Arroyo had P5.9 billion in intelligence fund allocations during her nine-year watch. She has not told the nation how the huge amount had been used.
As for President Aquino, he must have issued an executive order or signed some document to abolish the PACC and replace it with the ATOCC. Otherwise, he cannot reflect this new agency in his budget proposal and give it hundreds of millions in taxpayers’ money.
Despite the President’s promise of transparency, Malacañang has not made public the creation of the ATOCC or released the document creating it.
Jess Diaz, Philippine Star