Albay Rep. Edsel Lagman on Monday said the 2023 national budget must be purged of confidential and intelligence funds that are embedded in various government agencies.

In a statement, the newly elected Liberal Party president said the confidential funds amounted to P9.29 billion.

“This total amount is much bigger than the appropriations of many government offices and departments, including the constitutional commissions and offices,” he said.

Lagman said the P650-million confidential and intelligence funds shared by Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio’s Office of the Vice President and Department of Education were unjustifiable.

“The OVP is not a surveillance agency and has no jurisdiction over matters of national security,” he said.

Duterte-Carpio earlier said the DepEd confidential fund would address issues in schools such as illegal drugs, abuses, violent extremism, terrorism and insurgency.

“Since the utilization of confidential and intelligence funds are shrouded in mystery and the supposed audit by the Commission on Audit could not be disclosed to the Congress and the public, these funds breed corruption, and the more enormous the funds are, the greater the magnitude is for the possibility of graft,” Lagman said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro