DOJ Cybercrime Unit to Receive only P457,000 Confidential Funds

By: Reigh John Bench Almendras
October 10, 2023

The National Bureau of Investigation agents seize computers and arrest a group of Chinese in 2018 behind online illegal gambling operations in Muntinlupa City. File photo by Richard Reyes of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) proposed P34.5 billion for its 2024 budget with its Office of Cybercrime (OCC) responsible for online fraudulent activities to receive only P475,000.00 to its confidential funds.

In the budget deliberations held on Monday, Senators noted the need of the OOC for more allotment considering the prevalence of online scams in the country.

“We need to augment [this funding] because we need to [go after] the hackers and other cybercriminals. Considering that other agencies, especially those civilian in nature, are asking for confidential and intelligence funds (CIFs), these are the agencies that we really have to fund,” Senator Ejercito said.

“Cybercrime is a daily problem that all Filipinos are encountering. This is a new enemy that we are facing right now.” Senator Ejercito further stressed.


Duplication of Work

The Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Juan Edgardo Angara has pointed out questions asking for the possibility of redundancy in the work of the DOJ and Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

DOJ Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said the two departments have different mandates.

“For us, it’s prosecution and criminal investigation. The DICT is more on the technical side.” Justice Remulla clarified.

The Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III suggested that the DOJ list down its proposed spending in its other spendings including the Witness Protection Program (WPP) to make its annual expenditure plan more transparent.

The controversy over CIFs was prompted by the P500 million and P150 million requested by Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte in her two offices respectively.

The House of Representatives, in exercise of its power of the purse, has formed a “small committee” currently deliberating on the transfer of those funds to agencies with surveillance and intelligence activities in connection with the West Philippine Sea.