Lawmakers want COA to halt release of CIFs to non-compliant gov’t agencies

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 25) — Lawmakers from the House of Representatives want the Commission on Audit (COA) to halt the release of Confidential and Intelligence Funds (CIFs) to government agencies that fail to submit required documents on time.

During the plenary debate on the COA’s proposed budget for 2024, Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman said the commission should amend Joint Circular 2015-01, which states the guidelines on the use of CIFs.

Lagman questioned the rate of compliance of national government agencies with disbursed CIFs for 2021 to 2023.

Marikina 2nd District Rep. Stella Quimbo, who sponsored the COA’s budget proposal, said only 68% of national government agencies were compliant in submitting requirements to the commission.

She noted that the Games and Amusement Board (GAB), Department of Finance (DOF), Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU), and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) have submitted liquidation reports but these are still being verified.

Quimbo also said that only the Anti-Money Laundering Council had “zero compliance” on submitting reports on the CIFs.

“It’s now 2023, why is it that there is such a delay in the compliance of these agencies having CIFs?” Lagman asked.

“Don’t you think that there should be an amendment to the circular, or a general special provision, that compliance should be made within one year from the disbursement of the funds?” he added.

Quimbo said she “fully agrees” and proposed to make amendments that would “condition releases on compliance.”

“Without prior compliance, there will be no subsequent releases,” Lagman said.

Quimbo also said the COA has called for a meeting with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Department of Interior and Local Government, Governance Commission For GOCCs, and Department of National Defense to form a technical working group that will revisit the amendments on the agencies’ transparency in the use of CIFs.

The Marikina representative said possible amendments include the list of required documents to be submitted, a separate provision for the certification of accountable officers, submission of required accomplishment forms, and the need for authorized signatures of special disbursing officials.

Quimbo also suggested to include a provision stating which national agencies or government-owned and controlled corporations are allowed to request for CIFs.

She added the DBM should impose stricter criteria on national agencies that request for CIFs.