Opinion: What will OVP Duterte use the confidential funds on?

At Senate hearing on the Office of the Vice President’s 2023 budget, Senate President Migz Zubiri appeals to colleagues to extend “courtesy” to the OVP and keep proceedings short. Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. says they would like to respectfully ask questions. Pimentel asks about the P500 million confidential funds requested by the OVP under Vice President Sara Duterte: P500 million in one year. So may we know how are we also to answer the questions asked to us? How to justify this item in the OVP’s budget? Duterte does not answer the question and instead repeats Sen. Sonny Angara’s manifestation that OVP received intel and confidential funds from 2003 to 2012. She leaves amounts and propriety of confidential funds they are asking for 2023 up to Senate’s discretion. After around 40 minutes, Senate panel ends deliberations on the OVP’s proposed 2023 budget” (Philstar.com, 29.09.2022).

This isn’t good news from Manilla. The usage of confidential funds usually are used to keep secret budget posts and things of nature with national security or the intelligence community. In such a manner, that the army or the intelligence agencies can keep things under wraps, which to most of us make sense. Since we are not supposed to know all the inner works or the means of keeping the nation safe.

However, the Office of the Vice President and Minister of Education, Sara Duterte need for it is more questionable. Especially, when she cannot answer and only uses arguments for why it happened in the past. That’s just disgraceful for a government official and someone who is accountable to the citizens. It is just acting like it’s beneath her to be accountable and transparent.

Because confidential budgets or budget posts are no oversight over. Neither will there be reporting or substantial goals to be achieved. The OVP can spend these funds as she deems fit, and no one can question her. Sara Duterte can pay of allies, parties, or campaign debt for that matter. The OVP can buy new houses, cars and whatever she wants really. This is a massive pork barrel and a possible slush-fund.

We have no idea where these monies will go. She can pay out old lovers, side-dishes, and even other questionable characters if she likes. I can just speculate because what is the reason to have it confidential? It isn’t like she’s part of the intelligence community or the army. Those places I have mentioned it makes sense, but for her. No. I don’t see it, but that’s just me.

It isn’t a good sign either that’s she’s not willing to respond or give any sort of good reason for why. She is not living in 2003-2012, are she? Because we are currently in 2022 and she got to be accountable for her time. VP Duterte cannot expect people to accept reasoning for previous leaders, especially when she is not forthcoming with arguments or possible expenditure. This is just free money and without any strings attached. That’s why she can use it for whatever and no one can deem it wrong.

If she orders rice, tanduay or anything else. We just cannot know. The OVP has a funds and cash supplies that can be spent wherever she wants. It can fund her dad’s retirement. Pay off allies in Davao, keep the Duterte dynasty alive or just old debts in general.

I am just asking questions because there was no real answer. It is just public funds used without any sort of checks-or-balances. Meaning the OVP can spend it, and no one has anything to say about it. That’s the pure meaning of free money. Peace.

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