Hontiveros finds VP’s P460M alleged hidden funds as Davao mayor dizzying
MANILA, Philippines — Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros urged the Senate on Monday to look into the reported P460 million hidden funds of Davao City government at the time of then city mayor and now Vice President Sara Duterte.
Citing records of the Commission on Audit, Hontiveros said the local government was allotted P460 million in confidential and intelligence funds (CIFs) every year from 2019 to 2022.
“Nakakalula ang halos kalahating bilyong confidential funds ng Davao City kada taon, kung ikukumpara sa CIFs ng mga malaki at mayamang lungsod gaya ng Makati, Manila at Cebu na hindi man lang umabot sa P100 million,” the senator said in a statement.
(The nearly half a billion confidential funds of Davao City each year is overwhelming if you compare them with large and prosperous cities like Makati, Manila, and Cebu, which don’t even reach P100 million.)
While recognizing the security challenges facing the home province of the Vice President, Hontiveros questioned if these problems are “much worse than China’s incursions and abuses in our territorial waters.”
“Inaagaw na rin ba ng Tsina ang teritoryo nila tulad sa West Philippine Sea?” she asked.
(Is China also taking away their territory, like in the West Philippine Sea?)
Hontiveros recognized local government units (LGUs) have fiscal autonomy and the mandate to ensure peace and order within their jurisdictions.
“However, there should be a reasonable threshold on the amount that LGUs – like national agencies- may allocate as CIFs to promote accountability and transparency,” she pointed out.
She plans to raise this matter and other issues involving CIFs when Senate tackles the proposed 2024 national budget in the plenary.
“Ang pera ng taumbayan ay hindi ATM ng mga pulitiko na basta-basta pwedeng gastusin at ubusin,” she reminded government officials.
(The people’s money is not an ATM of politicians that can be spent and depleted recklessly.)
Duterte was mayor of Davao City from 2016 to 2022 or during the presidential incumbency of her father, Rodrigo Duterte.
From P114 million in 2016, the city’s confidential funds reportedly increased to P293 million in 2017.
It went up to P420 million in 2018, and then it further increased to P460 million every year from 2019 to 2022.
Now that she holds the second highest position in the land, Sara Duterte is being hounded by questions about confidential funds.
These allocations were either requested or granted to her offices — as Vice President and concurrent head of the Department of Education.
The Vice President has yet to release a statement on the latest issues raised against her.