OES defends P221 million fund allocation to OVP in 2022
MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Executive Secretary (OES) on Tuesday asserted that the Office of the President’s (OP) release of over P221 million confidential funds to the Office of the Vice President (OVP) was legal under the 2022 contingent fund.
To recall, lawmakers during a Senate hearing on Monday questioned the OP’s decision to funnel the amount to the OVP, accusing it of flouting the constitutional prohibition against the allotment of public funds without the approval of Congress.
Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III said the amount was also not included in the OVP’s outlay in the 2022 General Appropriations Act.
But the OES, in a statement, said that there was legal basis for the OP to release the P221.424 million confidential fund to the OVP.
“The release was done pursuant to Special Provision No. 1 under FY 2022 Contingent Fund. Under Special Provision No. 1, the President is authorized to approve releases to cover funding requirements of new or urgent activities of NGA (national government agencies), among others, that need to be implemented during the year,” the OES said.
The OES explained that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. himself saw the need to release the fund in support of Vice President Sara Duterte’s initiative upon the recommendation of the Department of Budget and Management.
“Vice President Sara, who was newly elected then, needed funds for her new programs for the remaining period of 2022. The President supported this initiative and released the funds, with the favorable recommendation of DBM,” the OES said.
According to the OES, VP Duterte requested the OP to release P221.424 million for maintenance, operating, and other expenses items, such as financial assistance or subsidy amounting to P96.424 million and Confidential Funds (for newly created satellite offices) in the amount of P125 million.
The funds, said the OES, were chargeable against the 2022 Contingent Fund.