Speaker Romualdez backs VP Duterte on CIF issue

October 6, 2023 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 280 views

SPEAKER Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez declared on Thursday night that he is “one with Vice President Sara Duterte” in terms of the proper utilization of confidential and intelligence funds (CIFs) in government to fight the enemies of the state and ensure peace and security.

“With respect to the confidential fund, we are all for the confidential funds and we are all for peace, and security, we’re all for that, we’re in total agreement that the utilization of the confidential and intelligence funds is to promote peace and security,”

Speaker Romualdez, the leader of the 300-plus strong House of Representatives, told reporters in a press conference at the Manila Golf and Country Club in Makati City when asked to comment on Vice President Duterte’s statement that those against CIFs are “naturally assumed to have insidious motivations.”

“We are one with the Vice President in having to make sure that confidential and intelligence funds are always part of the equation and of course best left with the agencies and departments that are most and best-suited,” Speaker Romualdez said.

“It’s just a matter of prioritizing, no? Prioritizing and making sure that despite the confidential and fact that’s called–intel funds nature, the transparency and the best, most appropriate manner in which it is deployed and utilized,” the Speaker said.

”That is why we are undergoing this whole process and that’s why because of the recent incidents, we are also making sure that CIF is properly deployed for the West Philippine (Sea) issues.”

“So we feel that we have to look at the West Philippine Sea, we have to provide more resources in these areas through the proper agencies and departments as we have earlier mentioned,” he said.

Speaker Romualdez also said that some people may be “reading too much” into the CIF issue.

“I think people are reading too much into it, I think it’s a very, very straightforward and simple,” he said. “It’s nothing other than the fact as what you have seen, as a natural progression of the budget hearings, the budget briefings, and the plenary discussions, it’s just a natural progression,” he said.

“The CIF topic all came up and there were a lot of discussions and debates in the House, and in fact even in the Senate, so borrowing the words of the Vice President, that even she says that she could live without it, and she would leave it to the sound discretion of the Congress for its proper disposition,” he said.

“Under the circumstances, we felt that it would best be realigned to the agencies and to the departments and into the areas where you just mentioned, that would be a priority,” according to the Speaker.

“Even now the Senate is following. Now we’re even reviewing that perhaps the CIF of other civilian agencies have to be reviewed and should be properly scrutinized to see how they can be better deployed to the proper agencies to like the DND (Department of National Defense), or the agencies like the NSC (National Security Council), NICA (National Intelligence Coordinating Council), or agencies like the [Philippine] Coast Guard when it comes to matters of the West Philippine Sea,” Speaker Romualdez said.