Fact checks on public officials

FACT CHECK: Congress did not remove Sara Duterte as VP


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FACT CHECK: Congress did not remove Sara Duterte as VP
There is no formal complaint filed in Congress that would initiate impeachment proceedings against Sara Duterte

Claim: Congress removed Sara Duterte from her post as vice president.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The video bearing the claim has gained 117,813 views, 2,800 likes, and 630 comments as of writing. The YouTube channel that posted the misleading video, PINAS NEWS INSIDER, has been fact-checked by Rappler several times.

The video’s title reads: “Diosko po! Grabe ang nangyari kay VP SARA tinanggal ng Kongreso, Sen Imee at Pres BBM nag Warning na!

(God! What happened to VP Sara was terrible, removed by Congress. Sen Imee and Pres BBM issued a warning!)

The video thumbnail also shows pictures of the Marcoses and Duterte with the text, “Delekado si VP Sara. Dapat tong malaman ng taong bayan” (VP Sara is in danger. The public should know this), “Protect VP Sara,” and “Tinanggal ng kongreso!” (Removed by Congress!)

No order: There are no orders or formal complaints filed in Congress that would initiate impeachment proceedings against Duterte and remove her from her position as vice president. There are also no statements from the Office of the Vice President (OVP) or reports from the media regarding the supposed order.

What the video is actually referring to is House lawmakers’ removal of confidential funds allotted to the OVP and the Department of Education (DepEd), which Duterte also heads, in the proposed 2024 budget. 

The video also shows no further proof of its claim. Instead, it featured clips of Senator Imee Marcos saying that Duterte’s critics were just playing politics and former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque defending Duterte’s use of confidential funds.

Impeachment process:  The Vice President may be removed from office via impeachment, according to Section 2, Article XI of the 1987 Constitution. An impeachment complaint may be filed by any member of the House of Representatives. Any Filipino citizen may also file a complaint, which should be endorsed by a House member.

At least one-third of House members must vote for the Articles of Impeachment for it to be endorsed to the Senate, which will then convene as an impeachment court. A two-thirds vote of Senate members is needed to remove an impeachable official. (READ: FAST FACTS: How does impeachment work?)

Confidential funds: The upload of the misleading video comes amid news that the OVP fully exhausted its  P125-million confidential funds in 11 days in 2022, as confirmed by the Commission on Audit (COA). 

COA defines confidential funds as a lump-sum amount allocated for confidential expenses, which refer to “surveillance activities in civilian government agencies that are intended to support the mandate or operations of the agency.” 

Amid budget deliberations on the OVP’s request for confidential funds for 2024, Duterte has been launching personal attacks on critics and denying any accusations of the funds being misused. For 2024, Duterte had asked Congress for P500 million worth of confidential funds for the OVP and P150 million for DepEd. However, House lawmakers gave in to public clamor and removed the allocated funds, realigning these instead to agencies at the forefront of efforts to address rising tensions in the West Philippine Sea. Andrei Santos/Rappler.com

Andrei Santos is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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