By Johanna Sampan Reporter
Former Commission on Elections (Comelec) commissioner Augusto “Gus” Lagman on Wednesday revealed that officials of the poll body are receiving “intelligence funds” which they do not liquidate.
In a statement, Lagman disclosed that he received P1.25 million as “I.F.” during his term but he returned the money.
“Sometime in 2011, I received a check payable to me for P1 million, followed a few months later by another P250,000, as ‘intelligence’ fund,” Lagman said. “I didn’t even know that Comelec Commissioners had that function. Presumably, all commissioners received an equal amount, with the Chairman, as mentioned by one of the commissioners, receiving double that,” he added.
Lagman admitted that he deposited the money in his bank account for future use.
“Thinking that there might be need for the fund in the future, I deposited it in my bank account,” he said.
After the incident, the Comelec Director for Finance, which he didn’t identify, asked him to sign a document so that the intelligence fund would automatically be liquidated even without them submitting any receipts.
“In early 2012, somebody from Finance asked me to sign a document (just one sheet) that would liquidate the fund. The document basically said that I spent the amount on a variety of activities, none of which I actually did. I therefore refused to sign the document and said that I would just return the money, still untouched,” Lagman narrated.
“After several minutes of discussion, I said that I chose to return the money—and I promptly wrote out a check—and asked him to issue me an official receipt for it,” he added.
Lagman said Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. questioned why he returned the money.
“Admittedly, this ‘intelligence’ work is the only area where I truly did not do a single thing,” he said.
Brillantes did not deny Lagman’s revelation about Comelec officials receiving intelligence funds but he refused to give any details.
“We gave it to him [Lagman]. We gave it also to other commissioners. I also have one . . . we don’t actually reveal how we use these funds. That is precisely for intelligence,” the Comelec head said.