MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has vetoed a provision in the 2021 national budget requiring the disclosure to Congress how intelligence funds would be spent.
In his veto message made public on Tuesday, Duterte said “all activities involving intelligence gathering that have a direct impact on national security and public safety shall be reported directly to me.”
“Consequently, I have to directly veto the proviso…which effectively requires the submission of quarterly reports on the use of intelligence funds to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate of the Philippines,” Duterte added.
The President further noted that “matters relating to national security are deemed confidential or classified information.”
“I may agree or disagree but if it involves national security, then I can see his point,” Senate President Vicente Sotto III said in a message to reporters when sought to comment on the President’s move to veto the said provision.
“The security cluster insists that there are members of Congress who are sympathizers or allegedly connected to the CPP/NPA [(Communist Party of the Philippines/ New People’s Army]. PRRD probably thinks its best not to telegraph the Executive’s intel actions,” he added.
Duterte signed on Monday the P4.5-trillion national budget for 2021 which he said is a year the Philippines “intend to recover as one.”
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