Senate oversight committee to probe intel funds

Posted at 02/21/11 6:11 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Senate will reactivate its oversight committee to investigate anomalies in intelligence funds of government agencies.

Sen. Francis Escudero said the committee is being organized and is expected to begin hearings by the beginning of March.

The rules of the committee are also being revised to make sure that witnesses will not dodge questions with the excuse that they can't compromise national security. But Escudero said the oversight committee will not be as open as the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to make sure that it will not affect national security and intelligence operations.

"Hindi na puede yung mga dating gawi at yung mga dating rason nila at hindi tatanggapin ng inyong komite ang mga ganyang rason  na national security, biglang hindi na pedeng sumagot. Mag-e-executive session kami mapasagot lamang sila at mapapaliwanag lamang sila," he said.

Former Commission on Audit chairman Guillermo Carague earlier confirmed that intelligence funds of government agencies are not audited in detail fully since auditors merely require a certificate from the head of the agency that the funds were used for espionage.

“If you want us to edit these funds, don’t call it intelligence funds, call it something else," he told senators during last week's Blue Ribbon Committee hearing.