Cayetano wants budget deliberations on DND, AFP, PNP confidential

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano has called on the Senate to ensure that deliberations on the budgets of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Department of National Defense (DND) are tagged as confidential to prevent insurgents from getting information from the government.

Cayetano made the manifestation at the continuation of the Senate’s deliberation on the proposed 2023 national budget.

Sen. Ronaldo “Bato” Dela Rosa was then defending the proposed budget of thr Department of National Defense (DND).

“Why is it that we make it so easy for those who want to topple the government to show the budget of the AFP, PNP, and DND? Hindi ba dapat mayroon tayong (don’t we have a) classification system na ‘for your eyes only’?” Cayetano asked.

“We have an estimate, we have intelligence, we have eyes on the ground, but there is no way to find out the exact budget and the number of arms, troops, et cetera of the enemy. (We don’t have) the exact number, unlike the budget of the AFP (which) is in the GAA (General Appropriations Act),” he said.

In the same way that the New People’s Army (NPA) keeps its own budget a secret, the senator said the government should also keep information on certain aspects of its defense budget confidential.

Cayetano said he sees no point of openly discussing the budget of the AFP, the PNP, the DND in Congress “because we're on media, social media, (and) there could be people here who are precisely here tonight to figure out kung ano ang meron tayo at wala (what we have and what we don’t have).”

He concedes, however, that his proposal to make these information confidential may face strong opposition from the public, which demands complete transparency from government.

“Let us find a way to hold them accountable but not expose them to more danger,” he said.