Duterte to Sara: Say secret funds to be used vs ‘communists in Congress’
MANILA, Philippines — Former President Rodrigo Duterte has disclosed prodding his daughter, Vice President Sara Duterte, to instead tell critics that her confidential funds would be used against “communists in Congress.”
In an interview over SMNI on Tuesday, Duterte recalled a discussion with his daughter about the controversial proposed confidential funds of the Office of the Vice President (OVP) and Department of Education (DepEd).
Civilian agencies OVP and DepEd, which Sara Duterte helms in a concurrent capacity, have requested a combined P650 million in confidential funds, which may not be subjected to full review or assessment by state auditors, for 2024.
According to the former president, being straightforward that the confidential funds would be used against the alleged communists in Congress seemed more understandable for critics of his daughter’s secret funds than merely asserting that the money would be utilized for the proposed mandatory Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program.
“Kaya sabi ko sa kanya [Sara], mag-prangka ka na lang [na] ‘Itong intelligence fund na ito, gagamitin ko para sa utak ng mga Pilipino, kasi ang target ko, kayong mga komunistang nandiyan sa Congress’,” ex-President Duterte said during the interview.
(So I said to her [Sara], just be frank [that] “This intelligence fund, I will use it for the brains of Filipinos, because my target, you communists in Congress”.)
“‘Patay kayong mga komunista diyan.’ Prangkahin mo na ‘yan si France,” he added, apparently referring to Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Party-list Rep. France Castro.
(“You communists are dead over there.” Be frank with France.)
Among lawmakers opposing the confidential funds for OVP and DepEd are members of progressive party-list groups collectively known as Makabayan bloc, which includes ACT party-list, in Congress.
“Sabi ko kay Inday [Sara], diretsuhin mo na. Na itong intelligence fund na ito is to prepare the minds of the Filipinos into insurgency na hindi matapos-tapos. Under ROTC, para preparado tayo kung magka-gyera, ganito ang sitwasyon ngayon. Kapag wala tayong sundalo, mayroon tayong mga bata who will take care of their respective barangay to help government,” Duterte said.
(I told Inday [Sara], be straightforward. This intelligence fund is to prepare the minds of the Filipinos into insurgency that seems to never end. Under ROTC, so that we are prepared in case of war, this is the situation now. When we don’t have soldiers, we have children who will take care of their respective barangay to help government.)
“Pero ang una mong target sa intelligence fund mo, kayo [communists]. ‘Ikaw, France. Kayong mga komunista ang gusto kong patayin.’ Sabihin mo na sa kanya,” he also said.
(But your first target in your intelligence fund, the [communists]. “You, France. You communists are the ones I want to kill.” Tell her now.)
Respectively, OVP and DepEd are asking for a P500 million and P150 million confidential funds for next year.
But these funding proposals were removed from the budgets of OVP and Deped by lawmakers in the House of Representatives. The legislators decided to realign the money to government agencies at the forefront of protecting the territory of the Philippines, especially the West Philippine Sea, such as the Philippine Coast Guard, and in maintaining the country’s peace and order.
National budgets in previous years do not contain confidential funds for DepEd while the OVP under former Vice President Leni Robredo does not have secret funds.