VP Sara: We can live without confi funds but work's easier if we have it


Vice President Sara Duterte on Monday said her office can live without confidential funds, however, these are needed to ensure the safety of the enforcement of projects.

Duterte faced the Senate committee on finance as the OVP seeks P2.385 billion budget for 2024. Of the total amount, the OVP is asking for P500 million in confidential and intelligence funds.

Duterte told senators that the OVP is not insisting for any amount, but the office's work would be much easier to accomplish if it will have confidential funds that will guarantee the safe implementation of its projects.

"The OVP can only propose the use of confidential funds based on Joint Circular 2015-01 but we leave it to the decision and discretion of Congress [which] has the power of the purse to decide whether to grant confidential funds to our office," she said.

"We can only propose but we are not insisting. We can live without confidential funds but of course our work will be much easier if we have the flexibility of confidential funds in monitoring the safe, secure, and successful implementations of the programs and projects and activities of the OVP," she added.

Duterte said all of the OVP's projects would benefit from the confidential funds.

"All of the projects of the Office of the Vice President use the confidential funds, it is intended for the safe, secure, and successful implementations of programs, projects, and activities and engagements of me and all the satellite offices including the central office of the Office of the Vice President," she reiterated.

Confidential expenses refer to those related to surveillance activities in civilian government agencies that are intended to support the mandate or operations of the agency.

The Joint Circular No. 2015-01, issued by Commission on Audit (COA) and four other government bodies on January 8, 2015, governs the spending of intelligence and confidential funds, as well as the auditing of expenses under it.


In the budget hearing, Duterte was grilled by Senator Risa Hontiveros about the use of the confidential funds as the latter had pointed out the limited range of purpose for using the funds.

The senator also asked the Vice President if the OVP has been gathering intelligence on certain subjects as well as entities. In response, Duterte confirmed that the OVP has been doing intelligence gathering.

"That is correct. As an example, we did a surveillance of complaints from constituents in Bulacan, with regard to the selling of OVP assistance and the selling of TUPAD projects in Bulacan," Duterte said.

"And there was a surveillance operation that was ran by the VPSPG for about a month and we were able to apprehend the person and we were able to successfully prosecute the case and that person went to jail for six months," she added.

She also said intelligence information starts "from the ground" or from communities and stakeholders, and not with other security forces.

She maintained that "there is no redundancy or duplication of effort because we have different mandates from the other government agencies."

Meanwhile, Duterte also said the OVP has been sharing the confidential information that it has been collating  with the police and the military.

"Whatever we gather from our confidential funds and surveillance, we share it with mainly the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police as well as they share as well intelligence information that they gather, which are not included in our database," she said.—AOL, GMA Integrated News