Hontiveros tells VP Duterte to justify confidential funds: ‘You’re not special’
“MANILA, Philippines — “Hindi kayo special.”
(You’re not special.)
This was how opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros responded on Monday to Vice President Sara Duterte.
The comment was in relation to the Vice President’s remarks in which she said, “Senator Risa Hontiveros, while she amuses [the] nation with her flair for drama, could only wish the 2022 OVP CF (Office of the Vice President Confidential Funds) was accessed illegally.”
In reaction, the lawmaker dared Duterte, “If you’re so confident about those confidential funds, then defend them publicly.”
Hontiveros also said her questioning of the budget is part of her job as a senator.
“Trabaho lang. Walang drama,” said the lawmaker.
(Just work. No drama.)
“Akala ko ba, VP Sara, the OVP can live without confidential funds? Bakit parang pinapawisan na yata kayo dyan, budget hearing pa lang?” the legislator asked.
(VP Sara, I thought the OVP can live without confidential funds? Why do you seem to be already sweating there when it’s just a budget hearing?)
“Lahat naman ng ahensya, naglalabas ng proposed budget,” she pointed out.
(All agencies release a proposed budget.)
Duterte earlier confirmed her office had requested a P125 million confidential fund last year.
The money was part of the P221.4 million allocation transferred to OVP.
Hontiveros called the transfer “unauthorized” and “illegal.”
“Napakababa na yata ng standards ngayon sa OVP. Gagawin mo lang ang trabaho mo, “amusing” na agad?” she wondered.
(I think the standards have now gotten very low in the OVP. When you just do your job, it’s then sarcastically referred to as “amusing”?)
“Kung meron mang “amusing,” yan ay yung halos kalahating oras na turo-turo, pag-iwas sa tanong, paikot-ikot na sagot, at pagbabalu-baluktot ng sitwasyon,” she said.
(If there’s anything “amusing,” it’s the almost half hour of pinpointing, avoiding questions, twisting answers, and distorting the situation.)
Hontiveros stressed the real issue is that the proposed confidential funds of OVP and Department of Education, both headed by Duterte, are larger than the confidential funds of Department of National Defense and National Intelligence Coordinating Agency.
“Given the significant responsibility of government officials, I demand a shred of competence when it comes to fiscal matters— like any Filipino taxpayer,” the Senator said.