^

Headlines

Third petition filed vs Sara Duterte’s secret funds reaches SC

Ian Laqui - Philstar.com
Third petition filed vs Sara Duterte�s secret funds reaches SC
Former Bayan Muna Representatives Neri Colmenares, Carlos Zarate, together with Rep. France Castro (ACT-Teachers) and Rep. Arlene Brosas (Gabriela) at the Supreme Court filing a petition against the 2022 Confidential and Intelligence Funds of Vice President Sara Duterte.
Philstar.com / Ian Laqui

MANILA, Philippines — Current and former lawmakers from the Makabayan Bloc on Monday filed a petition for certiorari, challenging Vice President Sara Duterte's allocation of P125 million for confidential and intelligence funds (CIF).

Among the petitioners include Rep. France Castro (ACT-Teachers), Rep. Arlene Brosas (Gabriela), Rep. Raoul Manuel (Kabataan), Bayan Muna Chairman Neri Colmenares, former Bayan Muna Partylist Representatives Carlos Zarate, Ferdinand Gaite, Eufemia Cullamat and Raymond Palatino.

This will be the third petition against Duterte’s confidential and intelligence funds.

The petitioners urged the Supreme Court to review the constitutionality of transferring the Office of the President's contingency fund to the Office of the Vice President's confidential and intelligence funds, questioning both the transfer itself and its subsequent utilization.

“Petitioners assail the constitutionality of the release of P125 million confidential funds by the Office of the President (OP) to the Office of the Vice President (OVP) in late December 2022, as well as the request, receipt, and use of this amount by the latter,” the petitioners said.

The disclosed funds, totaling P125 million, was reportedly utilized by the OVP within an 11-day period, according to the Commission on Audit (COA). 

The petitioners also asked the high tribunal to make the CIF auditable by COA. 

“Petitioners likewise pray that the Honorable Court direct the Commission on Audit to audit as a regular fund the ‘Confidential Funds’ expended by the Respondent OVP in 2022,” the petition read.

“Petitioners further seek the restitution of the P125 Million unlawfully used as confidential funds by the OVP,” it added.

In 2015, a joint circular involving the COA, Department of Budget and Management, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Governance Commission for Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations, and the Department of National Defense mandated national agencies, local governments, and government-owned corporations to "prepare" physical and financial plans for their confidential and intelligence fund requests. The plans needed to detail estimated amounts for each project, activity and program.

RELATED: Confidential, intel funds in the national budget: What you need to know.

The second petition against Duterte’s confidential and intelligence funds requested the nullification of the circular.

The first petition, filed on November 7, raised concerns about the constitutionality of shifting the Office of the President’s contingency fund to the OVP’s confidential funds, suggesting that only the legislature has the authority.

The SC asked Duterte and other officials to respond to the said petition. 

The second petition, filed by former SC Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, along with lawyers and priests, urged the SC to void Executive Order No. 2 and Commission on Audit Joint Circular 2015-01. Thesregulations enable the utilization, transfer and disbursement of confidential funds without subjecting them to audit.

The third petition makes similar points as the first two, highlighting that the OVP lacks congressional authorization for confidential expenses since it's not specified in the 2022 budget for the OVP.

The House Bicameral Committee announced on Monday that the final bicameral version of the P5.768 trillion national budget does not allocate any confidential and intelligence funds for civilian agencies, including the Department of Education and the Office of the Vice President.

The Makabayan bloc welcomed the development but former Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares remained cautious, saying that the confidential and intelligence funds might be hidden in other budget areas.

“Pwede naman kasing tinanggal ang confidential fund niya tapos pinasok sa regular items niya ang the same funds. So pupunta parin sa kanya ‘yon,” Colmenares said. 

(The confidential funds can be eliminated and shifted to regular budget items. This move would redirect the funds accordingly.)

On October 10, the House of Representatives re-aligned the confidential funds of Duterte’s offices to the agencies responsible for safeguarding the West Philippine Sea.

vuukle comment

ARLENE BROSAS

BUDGET

CONFIDENTIAL FUNDS

CONGRESS

DEPED

GENERAL APPROPRIATIONS

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

MAKABAYAN BLOC

NERI COLMENARES

OFFICE OF THE VICE PRESIDENT

OVP

RAOUL MANUEL

SARA DUTERTE

SUPREME COURT

VICE PRESIDENT

Philstar
x
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Latest
abtest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with