Confidential funds

The consensus, however, can still go awry near the end of the budgeting process when the bicameral conference committee of both Houses meets.
Confidential funds

Should the senators stick to their guns, we can count ourselves lucky for having escaped confidential funds abuse.

For now, we can also rest easy knowing that the amorphous shadows of two former presidents hovering over our spectral political landscape have been momentarily blown off.

Of course, the political beehive always buzzes, never staying silent for long.

But I won't detain you further with the political meanings of these recent events, except perhaps to note that, for the most part, women and men in power derive their aura from the office they hold.

When these men and women are no longer in office, they deflate like a balloon in our amusement park called politics. That's how it always was and will be once someone isn't holding the president's office.

Nonetheless, the two aging political mandarins will presumably nurse their bruises and gather their wits about them, and soon enough, their shadows will reappear. But that's all for later.

At the moment, preoccupied as we already are with the holidays, political talk about what will or will not happen with this government's convenient "Unity Alliance" is generally falling on deaf ears.

Forthwith, less talk about mainstream rightist politics is for the better, especially on this relaxing Sunday better spent divining the late John Lennon's AI-assisted voice in The Beatles' last song, "Now and Then," a surprising hit even among kids despite its nostalgia for boomers.

Still, some may yet spare their burgeoning holiday mood to pay attention to the urgent matter of confidential funds. To indulge in political talk, probably for the last time this year.

As I write this, the senators have agreed to remove the confidential funds of all government civilian agencies from the proposed P5.768-trillion national budget for next year.

Barring unforeseen developments, the Senate's position harmonizes with what the Lower House wants.

So, it's a foregone conclusion that the more prominent civilian agencies getting zero confidential funds are the Office of the Vice President, the Department of Education, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Information and Communications Technology.

The consensus, however, can still go awry near the end of the budgeting process when the bicameral conference committee of both Houses meets.

But the House leadership gets to choose who among its members will make it to the 21-member House contingent to the bicameral committee.

And the House leadership, evidently smarting from Mr. Duterte's recent serious threatening tirades over its affairs, will only presumably entrust the House bicameral committee to its loyal allies.

Such a move would effectively doom any magical machinations in the bicameral committee to restore the confidential funds to the aforementioned civilian agencies.

If there's confidence all around that the reallocation of the controversial confidential funds will stay, it still doesn't negate the fact that confidential funds shouldn't be in the hands of these civilian agencies in the first place.

Truth be told, many of these agencies can't even reasonably justify why they need confidential funds. That's how crazed it is.

But even those with somewhat plausible reasons for asking for it still can't cut it.

Take, for instance, the matter of confidential funds for the DICT. The DICT argues that the agency needs confidential funds to combat recent cyberattacks against government agencies.

But Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero openly castigated the DICT over its rationale for seeking confidential funds. He insisted the DICT is better off fending ransomware attacks by procuring better equipment and employing more able Information Technology personnel.

Escudero, however, failed to mention that confidential funds encourage laziness on the DICT's part and even more ransomware attacks. 

Yes, that isn't too farfetched a prospect.

It is so because cybersecurity experts tell us that cyber gangs are now smart enough to realize that if those they attack have spare funds — either from set-aside contingent funds or insurance money — the ransom easily gets paid.

Confidential funds are such contingent funds, which cyber criminals surely will pounce on and exploit.

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