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Group files petition questioning OVP's ₱125-M confidential, intelligence funds in 2022
Group files petition questioning OVP's ₱125-M confidential, intelligence funds in 2022
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Group files petition questioning OVP's ₱125-M confidential, intelligence funds in 2022
by Ellicia Del Mundo07 November 2023
Photo courtesy: RH Boy Gonzales

A group of professionals filed a petition questioning the ₱125 million confidential and intelligence fund (CIF) of the Office of the Vice President (OVP) in 2022 before the Supreme Court (SC) in Manila on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

The petitioners are lawyers Barry Gutierrez, Christian Monsod, and Ray Paolo Santiago, former Finance Undersecretary Maria Cielo Magno, former Commission on Election commissioner Agusto Lagman, Katrina Monsod, Honorio Poblador III, Vicente Romano III, Rex Drilon II, and Miguel Jugo.

The respondents are the OVP as represented by Vice President Sara Duterte, the Office of the Executive Secretary (OES) as represented by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) as represented by DBM Secretary Amenah Pangandaman.

In a press briefing, Santiago said they came to the SC to "question the transfer of funds from the Office of President's [OP] contingency funds to the Office of the Vice President's confidential funds."

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"Wala po ito [confidential funds] sa GAA [General Appropriations Act], whether or not that transfer is unconstitutional," he added.

Santiago said the Philippine Constitution strictly stated "that there should be no transfer of budget."

"One exemption, if augmentation is allowed by law. To be clear, ayon sa ating Administrative Code of 1987, an appropriation is an authorization made by law or other legislative enactment," he continued.

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The petitioners are asking the higher court to "declare the transfer as unconstitutional" and order the OVP to return the ₱125 million "to the government's treasury."

In 2022, the OVP, through Duterte, originally requested the DBM for the grant of ₱250 million in CIF "for and in consideration of the safe implementation of the various projects and activities in the Good Governance program."

However, during Congress' deliberation on OVP's 2024 budget in September this year, it was learned that the OVP was only granted ₱125 million, and these funds came from the OP's contingency funds.

Duterte's camp earlier said that the ₱125 million was spent in 19 days instead of the reported 11 days.

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