Marcos’ office approved P125M for OVP’s 2022 confidential fund – Tulfo
MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s office approved P125 million of the P250 million confidential fund (CF) requested by the Office of the Vice President (OVP) in 2022, ACT-CIS Party-list Representative Erwin Tulfo said on Tuesday.
During the plenary debates on the proposed budget for 2024 for the Office of the President (OP), ACT Teachers Representative France Castro questioned Tulfo on the procedures taken in releasing OVP’s CF.
Tulfo was sponsoring to the plenary the proposed budget for OP amounting to P10.7 billion.
He reiterated the statement from the Marcos administration that OVP had made the request to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
Afterwards, DBM had recommended the proposal to OP for approval.
However, only P125 million of the P250 million was granted by OP.
“I would just like to explain the flow of the release of the P125 million confidential fund of OVP in 2022,” Tulfo said in Filipino.
“This is a request of the OVP, for a confidential fund, from the DBM,” he began.
“The DBM then evaluated this request, and recommended to the OP, chargeable under the 2022 General Appropriations Act (GAA),” he went on.
“OP, meanwhile, approved the release of the P125 million, although the request was actually P250 (million), chargeable to the contingent funds under the 2022 GAA,” he recalled.
“What DBM did was to release P125 million from the contingent funds, and this was accepted by the Office of the Vice President, this P125 million,” he pointed out.
Tulfo had earlier been asked by Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman on the OVP’s request.
Lagman asked for a copy of the OVP’s request to DBM — which was eventually provided to the lawmaker before the House terminated plenary debates on OP’s budget.
After going over the documents, he noted that it appeared the budget requested was an addition to certain items within the OVP.
“This letter addressed to this Secretary of the Budget and Management is a request for augmentation of certain items in the Office of the Vice President and also it refers to confidential funds,” the lawmaker said.
“The question is, was there a proper augmentation? And the second question is, can confidential funds in the OVP be augmented when the 2022 GAA appropriated or allotted zero for this particular item of expenditure?” Lagman asked.
His office later released to the media copies of OVP’s request.
Based on the document, OVP had asked for a total of P403.4 million.
According to Lagman, the transfer of funds seems to be flawed.
“Constitution prohibits transfer of funds, except with respect to constitutional officers like the President relative to savings for augmentation,” he said.
“Consequently, it is unconstitutional for any transfer by one office to another, like the transfer of funds from the OP to the OVP,” he added.