Secret fund issue a preview of 2028 clash? House just doing its job
As VP Duterte herself said OVP, DepEd can live without secret funds

Confidential fund issue a preview of 2028 clash? House just doing its job

/ 08:33 PM October 05, 2023

Confidential fund issue a preview of 2028 clash? House just doing its job

HUDDLE AT THE TOP President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (back to the camera), Speaker Martin Romualdez and Vice President Sara Duterte have a short talk in this file photo taken in May 2023 in Liloan, Cebu province. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives is merely doing its job when it sought to realign confidential funds (CF) lodged with the Office of the Vice President (OVP) and the Department of Education (DepEd), Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said on Thursday.

The Speaker said this in a press briefing in which he was asked whether the seeming dispute between the House and Vice President Sara Duterte — who recently claimed that people who undermined the CFs are against the well-being of the public — is a preview of the 2028 national elections.


READ: Sara Duterte: Critics of secret funds have ‘insidious motivations’ 


Duterte heads both OVP and DepEd.

According to Romualdez, it was the Vice President who left it to Congress to decide whether the CFs should be realigned, even saying that they can live without it.

“I think people are reading too much into it, I think it’s very straightforward and simple: so the CIF (confidential and intelligence funds) topic all came up and there were a lot of discussions and debates in the House, and in fact even in the Senate,” Romualdez said in a press briefing.

“So borrowing the words of the Vice President — that even she says that she could live without it, and she would leave it to the sound discretion of the Congress for its proper disposition, under the circumstances we felt that it would best be realigned to the agencies and to the departments and into the areas where you just mentioned, that would be a priority,” he added.

The House leadership, before passing the proposed 2024 national budget last September 27, vowed to boost the funding of agencies involved in securing the West Philippine Sea.

Appropriations panel chair and Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Elizaldy Co meanwhile said that they are initially looking at the CF with OVP and DepEd as a source of funding for Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and other agencies.


READ: Solons open to redirect CIFs to defenders of West PH Sea 

Marikina 2nd District Rep. Stella Quimbo also echoed Romualdez’ sentiments, saying that they are realigning funds without prejudice — saying that they are transferring CFs with the intent of giving it to agencies that have a greater need.

“At this point in time, what we are doing is to correct the allocations of CIF (confidential and intelligence funds) to agencies.So how do we do that?So we look at which civilian agencies are in need of CIFs so that they can perform their mandates, and at the same time we remove from agencies which we think are not really in need of CIFs to perform their mandate,” Quimbo said in a mix of English and Filipino.

“So as the Speaker said, in other words, we do not pick which agencies get funding, meaning to say we apply general principles in rationalizing the CIF. So that means we’re blind, so it doesn’t, we don’t look at the agencies involved, we just apply the general principles as uniformly as possible,” she added.

The CF lodged with the OVP and DepEd in the proposed 2024 national budget came under scrutiny after Minority lawmakers questioned why OVP under Duterte got a P125 million CF in 2022, when the original budget did not have any.

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Eventually this led to more questions for the CFs in the proposed budget, which amounted to P500 million for OVP and P150 million for DepEd.

TAGS: confidential fund, House of Representatives, OVP

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