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VP Duterte lets Congress decide on fate of P500M confidential fund

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
VP Duterte lets Congress decide on fate of P500M confidential fund
Vice President Sara Duterte attends the Senate Finance Committee's deliberations on her office's proposed budget for 2023, which includes a P500 million confidential fund.
Senate PRIB / Joseph Vidal

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Sara Duterte is leaving it up to Congress to decide if her office will get to keep the P500 million confidential fund allotted in the 2023 budget.

Appearing during the Senate finance panel’s deliberation on the proposed budget of the Office of the Vice President, Duterte was asked by Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III how she could justify the confidential funds her office is asking.

But instead of responding directly, Duterte echoed Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara, who presided over the meeting, and said that the OVP under previous administrations also received confidential funds.

READ: Sara Duterte getting separate confidential funds as Vice President, DepEd chief

“Since 2003 to 2012, there were funds — intel and confidential funds that were granted the Office of the VIce President,” Duterte said.

She then reiterated her office’s response to questions from opposition lawmakers in the House of Representatives and left the fate of the confidential funds up to Congress.

“As to the amounts and the propriety of the confidential funds, as we have manifested in the House of Representatives, we leave it to the honorable members of the Senate to decide on this matter, your honor,” she said.

The Senate panel breezily approved the OVP’s budget in just around 40 minutes, as a matter of courtesy extended to the executive branch.

Earlier during the meeting, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri appealed to his colleagues to extend courtesy to the OVP and quickly approve its proposed budget at the committee level.

RELATED: Like Office of the President hearings, House panel approves OVP's budget in 7 minutes

During the House’s plenary debates on the OVP’s budget last week, it was revealed that the confidential funds being asked for by the office under Duterte was leaps ahead confidential funds received by the office under previous administrations.

It was also said that the OVP under Duterte would want to complement the Office of the President in its programs, which is supposedly why there is a huge increase in its proposed confidential funds.

OFFICE OF THE VICE PRESIDENT

SARA DUTERTE

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