Probe of Davao City’s secret funds sought | Inquirer News

Probe of Davao City’s secret funds sought

/ 05:43 AM October 15, 2023

Sebastian Duterte and Sara Duterte

Davao City Mayor Sebastian Duterte (left) and Vice President Sara Duterte. (Photos from their Facebook pages)

MANILA, Philippines — Makabayan lawmakers on Saturday formally asked three House panels to look into Davao City’s whopping P2.962 billion in confidential expenses from 2016 until this year.

The three-member bloc — composed of Party-list Reps. France Castro of ACT Teachers, Arlene Brosas of Gabriela, and Raoul Manuel of Kabataan — filed House Resolution No. 1361 urging the House committees on good government and public accountability, public accounts, and local government to jointly investigate Davao City’s confidential funds in aid of legislation.


They stressed that government officials “should not only refrain from irregular but also from unnecessary, excessive, extravagant, unconscionable expenditures” with the lack of funds for social services.


“The Filipino people are questioning why a significant portion of public funds are made confidential and secret from the public. It is imperative for Congress to ensure transparency and public accountability on the use of public funds and ensure that every centavo was used for the interest of the Filipino people, and not for the interest of a few,” the measure said.

Early in October, the Makabayan lawmakers pressed the Commission on Audit (COA) to look into the P2.697 billion confidential funds of then-Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte from 2016 to 2022.

P775-M secret funds

In HR 1361, the lawmakers noted that “as of July 2023, the Davao City local government already reported that P265 million was used for confidential expenses.”

Sara’s younger brother Sebastian Duterte was elected Davao City mayor in 2022.

When Sara Duterte became vice president, it was found out she spent a total of P775 million in confidential funds as Vice President and concurrent education secretary since 2022.

Last week, she ended up losing her P650-million confidential funds for 2024.


This was after the House stripped the confidential funds of the Office of the Vice President, Department of Education, Department of Agriculture, Department of Foreign Affairs, and Department of Information and Communication Technology.

During her first year as Davao City mayor in 2016, confidential expenses were at P144 million, which grew to P293 million in 2017.

P2.96B from 2016 to 2023

The amount soared to P420 million in 2018, and then to P460 million every year from 2019 to 2022.

This would bring Davao City’s confidential expenses to P2.962 billion from 2016 to 2023 under the leadership of the Duterte siblings.

However, HR 1361 did not mention the names of the Duterte siblings in pushing for a joint probe.

Citing the COA Joint Circular No. 2015-01 on confidential and intelligence funds, HR 1361 pointed out that confidential funds should not exceed 30 percent of the annual amount set aside for the local government’s peace and order plans.

Its release and utilization should also be approved by the local peace and order council.

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The Makabayan lawmakers also pointed out that in 2022, Davao City surpassed the country’s wealthiest cities like Quezon City and Makati City in confidential expenses “by a large margin.”

TAGS: confidential and intelligence funds, Davao City secret funds, Rodrigo Duterte, Sara Duterte, Sebastian Duterte

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