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Commentary
April 15, 2015

Funding for the Mamasapano Operation Came From the Office of the President?

As an aftermath of the Mamasapano’s debacle, and its subsequent cover-up, President Aquino III’s presidency is unraveling. The once popular and mighty president is facing a a great fall, and none of his bumbling men can put his crumbling presidency together again.

Mr. Aquino is facing the worst crisis of his serendipitous presidency. The Luneta hostage fiasco, the ineptness and lack of compassion for the victims of typhoon Yolanda and the Zamboanga rebellion, the unconstitutionality of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP)—all these pale in comparison to the horrible Mamasapano massacre.

How was the Mamasapano operations financed? Since the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Roxas and the acting Philippine National Police (PNP) head Espina, both responsible for authorizing the budget of the police, were not part of the decision-making process, how were the operations funded?

I suspect the Mamasapano debacle was funded through an item in the budget of the Office of the President (Oversight management of national security systems) with an appropriations of P630,123,000  The Office of the President has an appropriation of P250,000,000 for confidential expenses and another P250,000,000 for intelligence expenses?

Who approves the use of these funds? Section 77 of the 2014 General Appropriations Act (GAA) provides:

“No appropriations in this Act shall be released or discharged for intelligence activities unless approved by the President of the Philippines, or specifically identified and authorized as intelligence fund in this Act: PROVIDED, That Intelligence Funds provided for in the budgets of agencies including amounts from savings authorized by special provisions to be used for intelligence and counter-intelligence activities, shall be released only upon approval of the President of the Philippines.”

If the intelligence fund were used as a funding source the President should know. After all, he approves the use of all intelligence funds in the budget.

Section 78 of the 2014 GAA governs the use of confidential funds:

“Confidential funds authorized in this Act shall only be released or disbursed upon approval of the Department Secretary concerned.”

Since DILG secretary Roxas and acting PNP chief Espina were off the decision-making loop, it is reasonable to assume that no DILG nor PNP funds were used for the Mamasapano operations.

Most likely, confidential funds from the Office of the President were used, in which case, the Executive Secretary, as head of the department, authorized their use.

Cover-up-and-Lost-Credibility

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