Karapatan: No transparency in OVP budget deliberations

September 2, 2023

Karapatan denounces the indecent haste with which the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations terminated the deliberations on the proposed budget of the Office of the Vice President (OVP), citing “parliamentary courtesy”. After a 10-minute audio-visual presentation by Vice President Sara Duterte, Senior Deputy Majority Leader Sandro Marcos immediately moved to end the discussions, effectively preventing any interpellations from the body.  

Reps. Raoul Manuel, France Castro and Arlene Brosas tried to object, but they were not allowed to deliver their manifestations. The Makabayan representatives had sought to ask Vice President Duterte about the PhP 125 million in confidential funds her office received and spent in 2022 under highly questionable circumstances.

We decry the dire lack of transparency, the malicious intent to hide facts from the public, and the highly questionable existence and use of audit-exempt confidential and intelligence funds (CIF) at the OVP and other government agencies. Using “parliamentary courtesy” to deny the public its right to information and flout accountability of public officials is an arrogant excuse that can only be expected from wheeling-and-dealing trapos (traditional politicians). 

We call on the public to denounce the very existence of confidential and intelligence funds, especially under the shady Marcos Jr.-Sara Duterte administration, due to the lack of substantial checks-and-balances by which these public funds are spent and reported, in addition to the possible use of these funds to violate rights and civil liberties. 

Cristina Palabay
Karapatan Secretary General