The Senate Committee on Finance on Wednesday approved the PHP13.360 billion proposed budget of the Commission on Audit (COA) and that of the Office of the Ombudsman amounting to PHP5.050 billion including the PHP51 million Confidential and Intelligence Fund (CIF) for 2024.
Angara moved to terminate their deliberations on the Ombudsman’s spending plan for next year but added that the move is “without prejudice to any possible augmentation”.
Earlier, Ombudsman Samuel Martires heeded the challenge of Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III to reject the CIF as the lawmaker expressed surprise that the Ombudsman has a confidential budget.
Martires said he would be willing to refuse the CIF if it would only ruin the reputation of the Office.
The Ombudsman’s PHP51.468 million CIF for 2024 is part of its PHP79.806 million allocation for “additional operating requirements.”
Meanwhile, the COA budget breezed through the hearing as no questions were asked.
Angara said the 2024 budget proposal of COA was deemed approved at the committee level and endorsed to the Senate plenary. (PNA)
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