Vice President Sara Duterte has decided to forego the P500 million confidential and intelligence funds (CIF) included in the 2024 national budget, as revealed by Senator Sonny Angara on Thursday.
“We are in receipt of a statement from the Vice President, we discussed earlier and according to her, the OVP can only propose a budget to support the safe implementation of its PAPs [projects, activities, programs] to alleviate poverty and promote the [general] welfare of each and every Filipino family,” Angara said.
“Nonetheless, they will no longer pursue the CIF and the reason why is because it is seen to be divisive and as the Vice President, she swore an oath to keep the country peaceful and strong,” he added.
Former President Rodrigo Duterte previously indicated that the Vice President intended to utilize her proposed confidential and intelligence funds to reinstate the mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program in the country.
“Binasa ko ang rationale. Ang plano niya—unahan ko na lang, so I’m sorry I have to divulge this because binigay mo naman sa’kin, then I just make it public—gamitin niya ang pera, it’s only P125 million, gamitin niya sa mga BMT, palakasin niya sa high school, pati ibalik talaga niya ang ROTC. Ipilit niya. Make it compulsory,” Duterte said in an interview on SMNI in October.
Vice President Sara Duterte has been advocating for reinstating the mandatory ROTC, a program discontinued in 2002 over two decades ago.
VP Sara Duterte withdraws P500 million confidential funds request
She additionally justified using confidential funds within her offices, asserting that those who oppose this allocation are “naturally assumed to have insidious motivations.”
“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 the citizenry. Those who seek to compromise the security and development of our nation jeopardize the very fabric of our society and hinder our progress,” she said.
“Tandaan ninyo—kung sino man ang kumokontra sa confidential funds ay kumokontra sa kapayapaan. Kung sino ang kumokontra sa kapayapaan ay kalaban ng bayan,” she added.
Petitioners contended that the transfer lacks “delegated legislative power,” and that the confidential funds are not covered by the funding permitted in the contingent fund.
Vice President Sara expressed her readiness to address the legal aspects of transferring P125 million in funds from the Office of the President to the OVP in late 2022.