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Best for Palace to explain need for confi, intel funds to public — Raffy Tulfo

It would be best if the Office of the President will explain directly to the people the billions of confidential and intelligence funds (CIF) it is requesting under the proposed 2023 national budget, Senator Raffy Tulfo said Monday.

“They have to explain that to the people. Mas maganda kung manggagaling sa kanila to explain directly to the people, to the media, kung bakit the big amount that they’re requesting is justifiable para maging confidential funds for a certain year,” Tulfo said in an ANC interview when asked to comment on the matter.

GMA News Online sought the comment of Palace on Tulfo's statement but has yet to receive a reply as of posting time.

Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin earlier said the present administration retained the confidential and intelligence funds allotted for the OP during the past administration as he emphasized the need to be flexible with the budget to be "responsive to the requirements of international and domestic security."

Last week, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III questioned the need to allocate P4.5 billion confidential and intelligence funds to the Office of the President when there are existing agencies mandated to gather confidential information.

Tulfo, who ran as an independent candidate during the 2022 polls but belongs to the majority bloc of the Senate, said he will “stay neutral” on the issue of confidential and intelligence funds as he needs to investigate if the departments really require the requested funds.

For 2023, Pimentel said there is at least P9.3 billion CIF lodged in different departments, including P500 million for the Office of the Vice President, P150 million for the Department of Education, and P19.2 million for the Office of the Solicitor General.

He said the three agencies were not allocated with CIF under the 2022 national budget.

Although he is not totally in favor of CIF in DepEd, Tulfo said these funds could be used to prevent shootings in schools or track down drug lords and pushers who are selling illegal drugs near the schools.

Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte earlier said that she will defer to the wisdom of Congress on the confidential fund in 2023 requested by the offices under her.—Hana Bordey/AOL, GMA Integrated News