Revisiting the CIF

OFF TANGENT - Aven Piramide - The Freeman

In the May 13, 2024 post of a certain blogger Imelda Nicolas, she quoted Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio’s position on the Confidential and Intelligence Fund (CIF). Many people could say that in point of time, it was rather a much belated blog but to me, it was important for Ms. Nicolas to keep the issue alive as it reflected the mindset of the country’s second highest leader.

According to the blogger, the statement of the Vice President was: “So what if I spent my P125 million confidential funds in 19 days or 11 days as what the COA said. I can spend it in an hour or in a minute if I want to. That money is intended for my office and I can spend it the way I want it to be spent. By its nature, it is confidential funds and you have no business scrutinizing what is confidential”. I really do not know if this Ms. Nicolas exists as a person or that the name she uses is her correct and true name. But, I assume that this person is real and the quote so wronged her social philosophy that she felt the urge to relive it.

To understand Ms. Nicolas apparent discomfiture, let us attempt to dissect the pronouncement of Duterte-Carpio. First, the vice president talked of “my P125 millionconfidential funds etc. xxx”. The blogger knew that the vice president was, to say the least, wrong in claiming the tax fund as “her money”. It was the peoples’ taxes not Sara’s! Duterte-Carpio never became the owner of the fund that was thrown her way by the president. When the vice president, per her admission, asked the president for some funds, she did not expect that the Marcos family would draw from their reported private immense wealth. Did she not know then that there was still a huge estate tax liability of the Marcoses in favor of the government? So when Marcos, Jr., the president, gave Duterte-Carpio, the vice president, some P225 million to become the latter’s Confidential and Intelligence Fund, the former got it not from his own pocket but from government treasury.

Second. According to Ms. Nicolas, the vice president theoretically admitted spending P125 million in 11 or 9 days! For facility of computation, let us assume that the monetary splurge was done in 11 days. My calculator quickly computed that it was like Duterte-Carpio’s throwing away more than P11 million everyday or almost P480 thousand every hour. Even with the confidential nature of the fund, we still can ask what kind of intelligence information related to education did Sara “buy”? And from whom did those supposed intelligence information come? The vice president was quoted saying she could spend the fund “in an hour or minute.” If blogger Nicolas were mischievous, she could have given meaning to what Duterte- Carpio said by sighing “that remarkably fast expense could be easily accomplished if all the money went to one pocket only!”

Third. When the vice president declared that she could “spend it the way (she wanted) it to be spent,” she did not talk like the lawyer that she is. There are legal guidelines governing the use of Confidential and Intelligence Funds which even a vice president took her solemn oath to comply. She could not just spend that particular fund “as she wanted it to be spent.” My goodness, Duterte-Carpio, on that issue, sounded like an irresponsible brat.

Let me thank Ms. Nicolas for her blog. Had she not posted it, I could have forgotten that we need to hold the vice president accountable for the CIF.

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