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FACT CHECK: Confidential and intel fund line item didn’t exist in OVP’s 2022 budget


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FACT CHECK: Confidential and intel fund line item didn’t exist in OVP’s 2022 budget

CONTROVERSIAL FUND. Marikina 2nd district Representative Stella Quimbo, senior vice chairperson of the committee on appropriations, answers queries from the media on the status of the 2023 national budget, on September 6, 2022.

Angie de Silva/Rappler

Barry Gutierrez, former spokesperson of former vice president Leni Robredo, says that what Quimbo is referring to is an ‘account category heading’ and not a line item

Claim: House appropriations panel vice chairperson Stella Quimbo said in an interview with ANC 24/7 that a confidential and intelligence fund (CIF) line item already existed in the Office of the Vice President’s (OVP) budget in 2022.

Quimbo made the claim in defense of the Office of the President’s fund transfer of P125 million to the OVP in 2022.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: Quimbo made the claim during an interview with ANC 24/7. The interview was posted on the YouTube channel of the major news network which has 1.36 million subscribers.

What was said in the interview: Quimbo, defending the transfer of 125 million from the Office of the President to the OVP, told ANC that the former’s move is legal because CIF items already exist in the latter’s budget.

“There are two things here…. The item, which is confidential and intelligence funds, already existed in 2022. But the amount was zero,” the lawmaker said. 

The facts: The 2022 General Appropriations Act (GAA) shows that there was no provision for CIF items in the OVP’s budget.

In an X (formerly Twitter) post, Barry Gutierrez, former spokesperson of former vice president Leni Robredo, said that the confidential, intelligence, and extraordinary expenses is an “account category heading” and not a line item. Robredo was vice president at the time being referred to by Quimbo.

Under the heading, only one item existed in the OVP’s 2022 budget – “Extraordinary and Miscellaneous Expenses” with an allocation of P620,000.

In the 2023 GAA of the OVP, under current Vice President Sara Duterte, a “Confidential Expenses” line item was created with an allocation of P500 million. 

Dangerous precedent: A budget expert told Rappler that the transfer of funds from the OP to the OVP is a violation of the Constitution. He said only Congress has the power to appropriate funds, as mandated by law.

In a statement on Tuesday, former Senate president Franklin Drilon also said that the OP violated Article VI, Section 25 (5) of the Constitution which states, “No law shall be passed authorizing any transfer of appropriations; however, the President, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and the heads of Constitutional Commissions may, by law, be authorized to augment any item in the general appropriations law for their respective offices from savings in other items of their respective appropriations.” – Lorenz Pasion/Rappler.com

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