Sara Duterte: Critics of secret funds have ‘insidious motivations’
MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Sara Duterte once again defended her proposed confidential funds’ use for security, this time saying that anyone who attacks the funds has “insidious motivations.”
During the 122nd Police Service Anniversary of the Philippine National Police Regional Office 13, Duterte said on Wednesday that confidential funds play a role in security.
“Anyone who attacks or undermines funds allocated for peace and order is naturally assumed to have insidious motivations. Such actions go against the protection and well-being of our citizenry. Those who seek to compromise the security and development of our nation jeopardize the very fabric of our society and hinder our progress,” said Duterte.
“Makinig kayo sa lahat ng sinasabi sa palibot ninyo at tandaan ninyo, kung sino man kumokontra sa confidential funds ay kumokontra sa kapayapaan. Kung sino ang kumokontra sa kapayaan ay kalaban ng bayan,” she said further.
(Listen to everything that is being said around you and remember, whoever opposes confidential funds opposes peace. Whoever opposes peace is an enemy of the people.)
This is despite the fact that neither the Office of the Vice President (OVP) nor the Department of Education (DepEd) have security mandates.
However, the Vice President touted the DepEd’s membership in the Anti-Terrorist Council, as well as Duterte’s membership in the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.
“Let us recognize the vital role of confidential funds in ensuring the security and development of our nation. We must prioritize peace and order alongside education, as they are the foundation of a prosperous society,” said Duterte.
While Duterte emphasized the importance of confidential funds, she also said during a Senate budget hearing that the OVP can live without it.
Duterte’s remarks came amid moves to reduce the P650 million combined confidential funds – OVP at P500 million and DepEd at P150 million – that the offices she helms are requesting for 2024.
Lawmakers have been scrutinizing Duterte’s proposed secret funds with the House of Representatives considering the realignment of some of her offices’ confidential funds to the budget of agencies like the Philippine Coast Guard to boost efforts to protect the West Philippine Sea.
This is not the first time that Vice President Duterte lambasted critics of her offices’ secret funds. She previously branded as lies the arguments presented by critics – that included Senator Risa Hontiversos and ACT Partylist Rep. France Castro – against her confidential funds, which may not be audited by state financial records inspectors.