Sara Duterte: OVP got confidential funds from 2003 to 2012, too


Vice President Sara Duterte on Thursday said that confidential and intelligence funds are not new allocations for the Office of the Vice President (OVP) as some of the past vice presidents were granted the same.

However, Duterte reiterated that she will defer to the wisdom of Congress on her office's P500-million confidential fund request in 2023.

During the Senate finance committee hearing on the OVP's proposed P2.3 billion for 2023, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III raised the issue on the confidential funds, saying there were some claims that it is the first time that the OVP requested for confidential funds.

Before Duterte responded to Pimentel's query, Senate finance committee chairman Sonny Angara manifested that the OVP received confidential or intelligence funds from 2000 to 2012 based on records.

Pimentel said it may have been given to the previous vice presidents but it is lower compared to the P500 million which was requested by Duterte's office.

"It may have been given before, let us say, in amounts of P5 million in one year but this time kasi P500 million in one year. So may we know how are we also to answer the questions asked of us. How to justify this item in the OVP's budget?" Pimentel asked.


Responding to Pimentel, Duterte said "Since 2003 to 2012, there were funds--intel and confidential funds that were granted the Office of the Vice President."

"As to the amounts, your honor, 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 added.

During the House plenary deliberations, Davao de Oro Representative Maria Carmen Zamora, who is sponsoring OVP's budget, said that the P500-million confidential fund is included in the OVP's budget for its good governance programs to be used for financial subsidy, medical and burial assistance, and free bus ridership, among others.

OVP spokesperson Reynold Munsayac earlier said they will be transparent in the utilization of the proposed P2.3 billion budget for next year.

Of the total amount, P2.2 billion will be set aside for new appropriations for general administration and support, and operations; while P12.7 million will go to automatic appropriations for retirement and life insurance premiums.—LDF, GMA News