Lawmaker threatens VP Sara with impeach rap; Veep responds, ‘Enjoy’
MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker is considering the filing of an impeachment complaint against Vice President Sara Duterte.
This is in connection with the suspicion that the Office of the Vice President (OVP) may have spent P125 million worth of confidential funds in 2022.
This allocation supposedly was not in last year’s budget appropriation.
ACT Teachers party-list Representative France Castro made the threat to oust Duterte through this mode.
She said she is seeking accountability over the alleged illegal realignment of funds in the OVP.
“Yes, regarding impeachment, of course, we will study all possibilities to hold them accountable,” Castro told reporters in Filipino during a briefing on Friday.
“We think that the violations would fall under misuse of public funds, technical malversation, and violating the Constitution,” the lawmaker enumerated.
“If you are a government official, you should follow the Constitution, and that is one ground for impeachment if we will be able to prove that,” Castro reminded the vice president.
The lawmaker made the statements after Commission on Audit (COA) reported that the OVP had P125 million worth of confidential expenditures.
The commission talked about the issue during a budget briefing at the House of Representatives on Thursday.
Castro recalled OVP, under former vice president Leni Robredo, did not have this kind of item.
As a reaction, Duterte welcomed the review of COA.
She said the questions raised by Castro will be addressed during the investigation.
The Vice President believes the lawmaker does not deserve any explanation at this time because the accusations are speculative.
“We welcome the probe she recommended for the Commission on Audit to do on the 2022 OVP CF (confidential funds),” she said.
“But today, Ms. Castro doesn’t deserve an explanation because she did not come to class prepared — like a good teacher,” Duterte observed.
“All she did was wildly and masterfully arrange some allegations against me and the OVP, which will all be answered once the probe is done and during the budget hearing,” she said.
In the meantime, Duterte hopes the lawmaker will be able to savor the thought of removing the vice president from office.
“The seething disdain overwhelming France Castro these days is hardly concealed, even by her capacity to string serious allegations against the Office of the Vice President over the 2022 Confidential Fund,” Duterte pointed out.
“Meanwhile, I hope she finds gratification and great joy over the thought of my impeachment from office,” she said.
“Enjoy,” the vice president concluded.
Earlier this year, OVP released reports on its budget expenses for 2022.
It also sent to reporters a screenshot of the page from the budget document titled “Summary of appropriations, obligations, disbursements, and balances by object of expenditures.”
The report included details such as personnel and travel allowances.
A portion of the paper was blotted out.
When asked about this, OVP clarified it had meant to highlight the part on the confidential fund, but instead, it had unintentionally hidden it.
The page showed a provision for “Special Purpose Funds.”
Under this list was a sub-category called “Contingent Fund” that contained “Confidential Expenses” amounting to P125 million.