MANILA -- Senator Franklin Drilon on Wednesday questioned the transformation of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) from a coordinating body to an actual spy agency.

Drilon said NICA, created by then President Corazon Aquino, is supposed to simply analyze information gathered by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation and other agencies with intelligence operations.

He said former President now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo changed the function of the NICA with Administrative Order 68 and Executive Orders 69 and 608. The orders allowed NICA to not only have intelligence agents of their own but also to have foreign liaison officers.

Aside from hiring spies of their own, Drilon said NICA “was creating regional offices without the clearance of the DBM (Department of Budget and Management).” NICA now has 13 regional offices and 6 intelligence attaches in London, China, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

“NICA should not have intelligence agents. They should be transferred to the pertinent agencies which gather intelligence information,” he said.

He added the foreign intelligence attaches should be recalled since the country already has military attaches who perform the same tasks. (Jonathan de Santos/Sunnex)