Duterte: Covid-19 depleted intel funds

President Duterte said that his intelligence funds had been depleted due to the Covid-19 pandemic saying government troops had to use what they had because of the situation.

President Duterte (RTVM Screenshot)

Duterte made the statement during the groundbreaking ceremony of the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) Center in Las Piñas City on Thursday, April 7.

In his speech, the President said that the pandemic took its toll on the government's coffers and that his intelligence funds were not spared.

"Iyong pandemic naubos ang contingency plan ko pati yung intelligence fund (The pandemic drained my contingency and intelligence funds)," he said.

He claimed that he had to give the government troops an amount that he did not disclose and that they had to do their job on a tight budget.

"Binigyan ko lang ‘yang pulis pati military ng... Sabi ko, you will just have to work on it (I just gave the police and the military something and told them they would just have to work on it)," Duterte said.

"Eh, kung kailangan kayo maggawa-gawa ng intelligence, maglakad ka kasi wala tayong pera. Iyon ang nangyari doon (If you had to work on the intelligence, you'd have to walk because we didn't have the funds. That's what happened)," he added.

Covid-19 and e-Sabong

President Duterte said that the pandemic draining the country's funds was why he allowed the continued operations of online cockfighting (e-Sabong).

"I have the ultimate word on it because it gives us P340 million a month," he said.

"Kailangan ko ang pera for those expenses na wala sa budget, hindi mo makuha sa (I need the money for those expenses that are not in the budget or you won't get from the) budget so you need money from the outside sources," he added.

However, the Chief Executive reiterated that he would not hesitate to halt e-Sabong operations if he gets proof of people pawning their belongings so they can gamble.

"Itong mga ito nagpupusta lahat, nagsasangla na para magpusta. Iyon ang sabi ng tagalabas. Now if it is true, then hihintuin ko ‘yan (I was told that there are people who are pawning their belongings so they can place a bet. If that's true, then I will stop e-Sabong)," Duterte said.

"Masigurado ninyo (Rest assured), before I go, I will stop it kung totoo (if that's true). But I have to sacrifice; I said, the billions that we would have earned kung nandiyan 'yan (if it continues)," he added.