Senate decision on discontinuity or realignment of CIF out this week

By Leonel Abasola

November 6, 2023, 5:34 pm

<p>Philippine Senate session hall <em>(PNA file photo by Avito C. Dalan)</em> </p>

Philippine Senate session hall (PNA file photo by Avito C. Dalan) 

MANILA – The Senate will hold a caucus on Wednesday to decide if the Confidential Intelligence Fund (CIF) will be scrapped or remain in the regular budget.

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said in a statement on Monday that among the options are inclusion in the Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) or in the line budget.

In a radio interview, Zubiri said Committee on Finance chair Senator Sonny Angara will provide updates on what transpired during budget deliberations in October.

“The CIF can be realigned to the intelligence sector. Ang pag-uusapan na lang ay tanggal lahat talaga or may ma-iiwanan pa. Ilalagay ba sa (We need to decide if we will totally scrap it or include it in the) MOOE or line budget,” Zubiri told DZBB.

“There’s no harm if it will be under the line budget or MOOE or under the salary system within the agency as they will be held accountable,” Zubiri added.

In a previous interview, Zubiri said the Senate plans to revisit Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2015-01 on the “entitlement, release, use, reporting and audit” of CIF as allowed by the General Appropriations Act because it is “too broad.”

The circular states that CIF may only be used for purchases of information for programs, activities, and projects relevant to national security, peace and order; rental of vehicles for confidential activities; rentals and incidental expenses for the maintenance of safe houses; purchase or rental of supplies, materials, and equipment for confidential operations; payment of rewards to informers; and to uncover/prevent illegal activities that pose a clear and present danger to agency personnel/property.

“We want to make sure that the guidelines are simplified, and we want to limit its scope so that it can’t cover anything under the sun,” Zubiri said in a radio interview. (PNA)