Budget Watch

Sara Duterte draws flak for calling confidential fund critics ‘enemies of peace’

Dwight de Leon

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Sara Duterte draws flak for calling confidential fund critics ‘enemies of peace’

A NEED. Vice President Sara Duterte says OVP needs confidential funds.

Angie de Silva/Rappler

'Kung sino man kumokontra sa confidential funds ay kumokontra sa kapayapaan,' says Vice President Sara Duterte, a claim that one opposition lawmaker sees as her attempt to gaslight the public

Opposition lawmakers on Thursday, October 5, clapped back at Vice President Sara Duterte who had branded critics of her offices’ confidential funds as “enemies of peace.”

In a statement on Thursday, October 5, House Deputy Minority Leader France Castro of ACT Teachers said Duterte is “gaslighting” the public for insinuating that it is wrong to question how her confidential funds were spent.

“In essence, she is saying – just give me more money when I ask for it, but do not ask how I spend it, and if you do ask, then you are an enemy of the state,” Castro asserted.

“It’s not like peace and order, safety and security, and national development won’t be achieved if there is no secret fund. I repeat, surveillance is not a function and mandate of her office,” she added.

Albay 1st District Representative and Liberal Party president Edcel Lagman shared similar sentiments in a separate statement.

“On World Teachers’ Day, we should be reminded that schools are temples of knowledge not arenas of surveillance. The Secretary of Education must be a teacher, not a centurion,” said Lagman.

For Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes, only someone with a “fascist mindset” would demonize critics seeking transparency and accountability in government funds.

“It is an absurd way of looking at things. It is similar to previous non-sequiturs such as if you criticize the drug war, you support illegal drugs. If you oppose human rights violations, you support the New People’s Army,” Reyes said.

Duterte defended her receipt of confidential funds during a speech at the 122nd police service anniversary celebration of the Philippine National Police in Butuan City on Wednesday, October 4.

She asserted that confidential funds allow her office to address unforeseen challenges, such as terrorism and organized crime.

“Anyone who attacks or undermines funds allocated for peace and order is naturally assumed to have insidious motivations. Such actions go against the protection and well-being of our citizenry. Those who seek to compromise the security and development of our nation jeopardize the very fabric of our society and hinder our progress,” Duterte said.

Kung sino man ang kumokontra sa confidential funds ay kumokontra sa kapayapaan. Kung sino ang kumokontra sa kapayapaan ay kalaban ng bayan (Whoever is against confidential funds is against peace. Whoever is against peace is an enemy of the state),” she added.

It is important to note that this speech still fails to answer key questions on the P125-million confidential fund that the Office of the Vice President (OVP) exhausted in only 11 days in December 2022.

Sara Duterte draws flak for calling confidential fund critics ‘enemies of peace’

That was also yet another general statement to justify her combined request of P650 million confidential fund for the OVP and the Department of Education for 2024.

The House of Representatives – headed by Speaker Martin Romualdez – already decided to strip Duterte’s offices of confidential funds for next year, and reallocate the budget to agencies protecting the West Philippine Sea, amid increased incursions by China in the area. – Rappler.com

1 comment

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  1. ET

    VP Sara Duterte’s argument on giving top priority to National Security is reasonable but not when used to cover up a method of using Public Funds for the purpose of Corruption.

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Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the Malacañang, and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.