Office of the Vice President

Sandro Marcos ends OVP budget hearing before P500-M confidential fund is questioned

Ryan Macasero

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

Sandro Marcos ends OVP budget hearing before P500-M confidential fund is questioned

BUDGET HEARING. Vice President Sara Duterte attends the budget hearing on the Proposed FY2024 Budget of the Office of the Vice President, at the House of Representatives on August 30, 2023.


(2nd UPDATE) The hearing is terminated after less than 15 minutes, while opposition lawmakers insist on explaining their objection

MANILA, Philippines – For the second year in a row, Vice President Sara Duterte breezed through the House appropriations committee as it terminated without any questions on Wednesday, August 30, the deliberations on the the proposed P2.385 billion budget of the Office of the Vice President (OVP).

Sandro Marcos ends OVP budget hearing before P500-M confidential fund is questioned

Before Davao de Oro Representative Maricar Zamora, appropriations committee vice chair, could finish saying “thank you” to Duterte for her presentation, Ilocos Norte 1st District Representative Sandro Marcos moved to terminate the hearing out of “parliamentary courtesy.”

“In line with the long standing tradition of giving the Office of the Vice President parliamentary courtesy, I move to terminate the budget of the Office of the Vice President,” Marcos, the President’s son, said.

Excluding introductions and acknowledgements, the hearing was terminated after less than 15 minutes after 21 committee members voted to end the hearing.

What inter-parliamentary courtesy prevents

Inter-parliamentary courtesy is a time-honored tradition between the two chambers of Congress do not meddle into each other’s affairs. The OVP is with the executive branch of government.

The “courtesy” extended to the OVP, as in the past, provided the office with considerable leeway in appropriating funds with minimal opposition.

On Wednesday, only Kabataan Representative Raoul Manuel and ACT Teachers Representative France Castro, both of the progressive Makabayan bloc, protested the termination of the hearing.

What the OVP under Duterte is asking for 2024

Duterte asked for only a slight increase from its 2023 budget of P2.356 billion.

The highlights of her presentation included the putting up of seven satellite offices in different parts of the country, and the OVP’s medical and burial assistance programs.

According to Duterte’s presentation, they had spent P550 million on medical assistance for 52,472 beneficiaries, and P56.9 million for burial assistance for 11.606 million beneficiaries.

What was not discussed was how they would intend to spend the proposed P500 million confidential funds for 2024, which comprises about 21% of the OVP’s total budget.

Must Read

Confidential funds: The new game in town

Confidential funds: The new game in town
What the opposition wanted to ask

This is precisely the issue that Castro wanted to raise during the budget hearing.

“Madam Chair, may we have a manifestation?” she said.

Zamora initially ignored Castro, but the progressive lawmaker continued to speak.

“Point of order: May I explain my vote, why I do not like that the budget hearing of the Office of the Vice President will be terminated? I know we have the rights as a minority bloc, Madam Chair, so may we explain why we voted no?”

Zamora then told Castro to submit her protest to the committee in writing.

I object, Madam Chair,” Castro interjected again.

“Madam Chair…. Meron tayong issue na dapat mapakinggan ng ating taong bayan at masagot ng Office of the Vice President. So…kailangan maipaliwang itong 125 million [pesos]…at sinabi naman sa statement ni Vice President Duterte na mag-e-explain, so, Madam Chair, I have the right to explain why I voted no. Kailangan malaman itong P125 million na hindi confidential fund, pero ginastos ng OVP at kung saan…” Castro said, before her audio was cut or muted from the live stream.

(Madam Chair…. We have an issue that needs to be heard by our fellow citizens and addressed by the Office of the Vice President. So, Madam Chair, we need to clarify this 125 million [pesos]…and, as stated by Vice President Duterte, an explanation will be provided. Therefore, Madam Chair, I have the right to explain why I voted no. It is necessary to understand why the P125 million was utilized by the OVP as confidential fund and where it was spent.)

It’s likely Castro was referring to an earlier revelation she made that the Office of the Vice President spent P125 million as confidential fund in the last 19 days of 2022 despite the absence of a line item for that.

She said she based this conclusion from a release order from the budget department dated December 13, 2022. The total release of P221.4 million included the P125 million in confidential funds, Castro alleged.

Manuel also verbally expressed his manifestation during the budget hearing, but that was no longer aired on the livestream.

The Kabataan party-list lawmaker told Rappler in a separate message, “I mentioned that representatives should have the right to ask, especially because OVP confidential funds are much, much higher compared to [the] CIF (confidential and intelligence funds) of past OVPs combined. Also, OVP having confidential funds for 2022 [even though it doesn’t have a line item for such in GAA] is illegal,” he said.

How Duterte explains the confidential spending

Through press statement sent to reporters on Wednesday afternoon, Duterte responded to Castro’s allegations on the P125-million confidential funds disbursed last December 2022.

“For the 2022 CF (confidential fund) in the amount of P125 million, the OVP has already planned and identified events, activities, and projects to be covered by the CF as early as August. There was nothing irregular or unauthorized about its spending, and required liquidation and accomplishment reports have been submitted to oversight agencies,” Duterte said.

“We urge the Makabayan bloc to end its rabid vilification of OVP over the 2022 CF if it doesn’t have any substantive information to back up imputations of misuse,” she added. 

Aside from the OVP budget, Duterte was also scheduled to present on Wednesday the proposed budget for the Department of Education, where she serves concurrently as its secretary.

Duterte agreed to be the running mate of Sandro’s father, now-President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., in the 2022 elections despite her higher popularity ratings in pre-election polls. –

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!
Nobuhiko Matsunaka


Ryan Macasero

Ryan covers social welfare for Rappler. He started at Rappler as social media producer in 2013, and later took on various roles for the company: editor for the #BalikBayan section, correspondent in Cebu, and general assignments reporter in the Visayas region. He graduated from California State University, East Bay, with a degree in international studies and a minor in political science. Outside of work, Ryan performs spoken word poetry and loves attending local music gigs. Follow him on Twitter @ryanmacasero or drop him leads for stories at