VP Duterte gives up P500-M OVP secret fund – Sen. Angara
MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Sara Duterte “will no longer pursue” her request for P500 million confidential and intelligence funds for her office next year, Senator Sonny Angara said on Thursday.
Angara, chair of the Senate committee on finance and sponsor of the 2024 national budget bill, said his office received “a statement from the VP” maintaining that the Office of Vice President Duterte would only propose a 2024 budget that would ensure the implementation of its programs against poverty, among others.
“Your honor, actually, we are in receipt of a statement from the VP [and] we discussed [it] earlier. According to her, the OVP can only propose a budget to support the safe implementation of its programs to alleviate poverty and promote [the] general welfare of Filipino families,” he said.
“Nonetheless, they will no longer pursue the confidential and intelligence funds or the confidential funds. And the reason why is because it seems to be divisive, and as the VP, she swore and [took an] oath to keep the country peaceful and strong,” he added.
Angara read Duterte’s statement after Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III questioned if Duterte is appealing for the reinstatement of the P500 million confidential fund which the House of Representatives removed and reallocated to the government’s security agencies like the Philippine Coast Guard.
Duterte was physically present during the Senate plenary deliberations on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the proposed 2024 spending plan of the Department of Education (DepEd), which includes P150 million in confidential funds, is yet to be taken up in the Senate plenary.
Duterte is also serving as the head of the education agency in a concurrent capacity.
The House of Representatives likewise removed the P150-million confidential fund request of DepEd in its version of the 2024 General Appropriations Bill.
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