Honasan in hot water after allegedly diverting P300M of DICT’s funds for confidential expenses

DICT Secretary Gringo Honasan / Photo from Businessworld

Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary Gringo Honasan is in hot water after allegedly diverting P300 million budget of the agency’s budget in one month for confidential expenses.

According to a report by Politiko, documents were obtained which showed that Honasan made three cash advances worth P100 million between November 26, 2019 and December 17, 2019.

Due to its confidentiality, the said expenses will not be subjected to regular audit, says the report.

“Cash advance for Confidential Expenses in connection with Cybersecurity Activities.” Is the purpose of the alleged disbursement vouchers.

Out of the 3 advances, only the one made by Honasan in November 2019 has been liquidated up to date.

Politiko also mentioned that its source said Honasan “made it a priority to use the existing notices of cash allowance (NCA) and special allotment release orders when he assumed office in July last year.”

“The real reason for the cash advances is to divert the money to the confidential fund,” the online news site’s source said.

On the same day, February 3, 2020, GMA News reported that DICT Undersecretary Eliseo Rio has resigned from the agency, citing he was being left out by Honasan about how the agency spent P300 million in confidential funds.

“Yes, that [observation] was in the AOM. My position is that the DICT does not need intel or confidential funds because it is not [within] its mandate to conduct intel or surveillance activities. But the position of Secretary Honasan is that this is needed by him,” Rio told GMA News Online.

Rio argued that as Undersecretary for Operations, he should be at least informed as how these expenses were used as part of the agency’s operations.

“Since I am not included in the planning process of the use of this confidential funds and it’s limited only to the people Honasan brought with him, I felt left out and useless and as such, might as well to resign because I am not trusted,” Rio added.

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