The matter of ensuring peace and order in the country does not only belong or the exclusive burden
of certain public officials, agencies, departments or offices of the national government. This is an issue and situation that involves a whole of nation approach or the gamut of stakeholders who stand to benefit from a tranquil environment.

When President Duterte decided to issue Executive Order No. 70 which institutionalized the whole-of nation approach in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace, and creating a national task force to end local communist armed conflict as well as adopting a national peace framework, it was actually a signal to the populace and admission that the campaign to attain peace and stability in the country requires everybody’s help and support.

Nowhere is this more emphatic than in the very law itself which provides that, “The maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty, and property, and promotion of the general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of democracy.” (Section 5, Article II, 1987 Philippine Constitution) So if everybody must be involved in this undertaking should not the Vice President – which recently received flak from certain sectors for having confidential/intelligence funds under its office, be likewise afforded the opportunity to contribute to the effort towards national security?

In attaining the objective of ensuring peace and order one would think and perhaps understand that certain considerations have to be made by the national government in providing adequate funds for its offices, agencies and departments for the effective implementation of various peace and order programs.

This is what confidential funds and intelligence funds are for. To have a clearer view on what confidential funds and intelligence funds are all about we rely on Joint Circular No. 2015-01 issued way back in 2015 by the following agencies and departments of the national government: the Commission on Audit (COA), Governance Commission for Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations (GCG), and the departments of Budget and Management (DBM), National Defense (DND), and the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

The basis for the guidelines rests on several laws among which are the following: The administrative code of 1987, RA Act No. 10149 creating the GCG, the general provisions of the
General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2015, and the 1987 constitution. The joint circular provide the guidelines on the entitlement, release, use, reporting and audit of confidential and/or intelligence

Now as defined in the said guidelines confidential funds (CF) are to be utilized from among others, for the 1.) purchase of information necessary for the formulation and implementation of
program, activities and projects relevant to the national security and peace and order, 2.) payment of rewards to informers, 3.) prevent illegal activities that pose a clear and present danger to agency
personnel/property, or other facilities and resources under the agency protection, done in coordination with the appropriate law enforcement agencies, or 4.) others that may be authorized by the GAA or other special laws.

Intelligence fund on the other hand are to be utilized purposely as expenses carried out by uniformed and military personnel, and intelligence practitioners. In a sense these confidential or intelligence funds to be used by authorized agencies, offices and departments for the sole purpose of augmenting efforts of the government towards the realization of peace and order and the overall national security of the country.

However adamant the opposition may be for the office of the vice president to be given confidential funds it cannot detract from the fact that the Vice President, being part of the entire machinery of the government undertaking the whole-of-nation approach for peace, enjoys the privileged of being entitled to such confidential funds in order to augment its support toward the campaign. Does the guidelines provide for accountability in the use of these confidential and intelligence funds? Yes it does.

In the Administrative provisions and penal sanctions of Joint Circular No. 2015-01 it provides the following: “8.1 It shall be the duty of the officials or employees concerned to comply with the requirements of this Circular. Failure or refusal to do so without justifiable cause shall constitute a ground for administrative disciplinary action as well as disallowing the cash advance granted. 8.2 The preceding section is without prejudice to the filing of appropriate criminal charges under existing laws against the erring officials or employees.

8.3 Failure of the AO to liquidate any public funds for which he is accountable, upon demand by
any duly authorized officer, shall be prima facie evidence that he has put such missing funds or property to personal use and benefit. (Antonio C. Martinez vs. People of the Philippines and the Sandiganbayan, G.R No. 126413, 20 August 1999).”

Amianan Balita Ngayon