Tagle: No strict audit of Comelec intel funds

Posted at 05/24/2013 4:42 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- Poll commissioner Lucenito Tagle on Friday defended the Commission on Elections' use of intelligence funds, saying that these are necessary especially during the election season.

"Sa palagay ko po kailangan din ho namin 'yan. 'Yun na nga, marami ring pinaggagamitan 'yan," Tagle said in an interview with radio dzMM.

"Iyan po ay ginagamit namin sa mga research work at investigative at saka 'yung pagpunta-punta namin sa mga regional directors," he added.

Like Comelec chairperson Sixto Brillantes, Tagle said he sees no irregularity with the poll body's intelligence funds which are now being questioned by former commissioner Gus Lagman.

He also supported Brillantes' statement that the funds were used for the surveillance of alleged election operators and manipulators of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines.

"Wala naman kaming nakikitang irregularity dahil nga noon pa ho 'yan eh, panahon pa ni Chairman [Jose] Melo," he said.

The poll commissioner said Comelec does not request for the funds. "Hindi naman kami humihiling, basta andun na lang ho 'yan. Merong times na wala, meron namang andun," he said.

Malacañang, for its part, said the Comelec has requested for the intelligence funds this year. The request was then approved by the Office of the President.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte, in a separate interview with radio dzMM, said: 'Yung for 2013, wala 'yan dun sa specific budget nila kaya nga nagrequest sila ng realignment."

"Tiningnan po, mukhang naaayon naman ho dun sa purposes talaga ng confidential and intelligence funds," she added.

Auditing

Tagle said since these are confidential funds, they only need to sign a clearance saying where they spent the money.

He said they are not required to submit receipts or other supporting documents to account their expenses.

"Ang alam ko po eh basta intelligence funds hindi naman na-a-audit, although dumadaan sa audit 'yan pero hindi naman strictly audited," he said.

Commission on Audit (COA) commissioner Heidi Mendoza on Thursday said they are set to implement a new set of guidelines on the auditing of intelligence funds, noting that not all expenses related to confidential activities shall be covered under the confidentiality rule.

"Hindi na pepwede 'yung certification lang. In-identify natin ano 'yung mga expenses na sasabihin nating directly incurred in pursuit of national security or security operations...'yun pwede nang hindi magbigay ng supporting documents. But on other expenses na sasabihin nating mukhang hindi naman ganun ka-direct, kailangan may mga dokumento," she said.