Castro thanks House for defending her vs ex-President Duterte | Inquirer News

Castro thanks House for defending her vs ex-President Duterte

/ 10:10 PM October 16, 2023

ACT Rep. France Castro

ACT Rep. France Castro (FILE PHOTO)

MANILA, Philippines — ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro on Monday thanked House Speaker Martin Romualdez and other party leaders in the lower chamber for defending her against threats from former President Rodrigo Duterte over the removal of confidential funds allotted to the Office of the Vice President (OVP) and the Department of Education (DepEd).

Both offices are headed by Vice President Sara Duterte, daughter of the former president.


“I am grateful for the support and solidarity shown by House Speaker Romualdez and other party leaders during this challenging time. Their unwavering commitment to the safety and security of all lawmakers is commendable,” Castro said in a statement.


“This incident is a stark reminder of the dangers faced by those who dare to speak up and fight for the rights and welfare of the Filipino people. It is crucial that we continue to uphold freedom of expression and protect the voices of dissent in our democracy,” she added.

Castro said that lawmakers, along with activists outside of the House, should be protected from threats whenever they speak up to protect the rights of the people.

“We must work together to create an environment where lawmakers and activists can carry out their duties and advocacies without fear of reprisal. It is our responsibility to safeguard the democratic space and protect those who champion the rights of the marginalized and vulnerable,” she noted.

Statements on national TV

Castro was referring to the statements against her that the former president made last Oct. 10 in his “Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa” (From the Masses, For the Masses), a program broadcast nationwide by Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI).

Duterte was reacting to the decision of the House to remove the confidential funds allotted to the OVP and the DepEd.

According to the older Duterte, he had advised the Vice President to just be frank about the purpose of the confidential funds (CF) — which is to supposedly kill communists like Castro.


“I told Inday [Sara], to be direct, tell them that the intelligence fund is meant to prepare the minds of the Filipinos to address the insurgency that is taking a long time to end and the ROTC so that we are prepared for war — especially in this situation. If we do not have soldiers, then we will have the youth who can take care of their respective barangays,” the former president said.

“But your first target there, using your intelligence funds, is you, France, you communists who I want to kill. I asked her to tell them that, but she refused, saying: ‘You know, Pa, if I did that, they might harass the PMTs [Philippine Military Training institutions],’” he added.

During the deliberations on the proposed 2024 national budget, Castro called for the removal of confidential funds, particularly P500 million from the OVP and P150 million from DepEd.

Eventually, the House decided to totally strip the request of OVP and DepEd for confidential funds, which it also did with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and the Department of Agriculture (DA).

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Six other civilian agencies’ confidential funds were also significantly reduced. All in all, P1.23 billion of confidential funds were removed — accounting for about 0.6 percent of the institutional amendments that were made by the small committee.

TAGS: Department of Agriculture, France Castro, Office of the Vice President, Rodrigo Duterte, Sara Duterte, secret funds

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