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VP Sara: ‘Nothing irregular, unauthorized’ in use of P125-M confidential funds in 2022

Vice President Sara Duterte on Wednesday maintained that there was nothing irregular or unauthorized in the utilization of the P125 million worth of confidential expenses in 2022 even if such an item was not provided under last year's General Appropriations Act (GAA).

In a statement, Duterte said that the Office of the Vice President (OVP) has already planned and identified events, activities, and projects that would be covered by the confidential fund as early as August 2022—two months after she took her oath as the 15th Vice President of the country.

“There was nothing irregular or unauthorized about its spending and the required liquidation and accomplishment reports have been submitted to the oversight agencies,” Duterte said.

The Commission on Audit (COA), in its 2022 Annual Audit Report, disclosed that the OVP had P125 million confidential expenses last year despite not having an appropriation for intelligence or confidential funds under the 2022 GAA.

Due to this, members of the Makabayan bloc wanted Duterte to explain the source of the P125 million confidential fund that the OVP got and spent last year.

For her part, the Vice President told the bloc to “end its rabid vilification of OVP over the 2022 CF if it doesn’t have any substantive information to back up imputations of misuse.”

“These incessant malicious attacks betray the Makabayan bloc’s lack of respect for the Filipinos being served by OVP and their inability to appreciate OVP’s involvement in the fight against insurgency, terrorism, and social inequality,” Duterte said.

The House Committee on Appropriations on Wednesday quickly ended deliberations on the OVP’s P2.385-billion proposed budget for 2024 without fielding questions due to parliamentary courtesy.

The Makabayan bloc accused the committee of censorship.

“Ito po ay pambubusal sa Makabayan. Nakita niyo naman po ang ginawa sa amin,” ACT Teachers party-list Representative France Castro told reporters. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News