Close this search box.
Supreme Court urged to order Sara Duterte to return P125-M confidential funds (Photo: Ryan Baldemor/RepublicAsia)

SC urged to order Sara Duterte to return P125-M confidential funds

by Carl Santos

SEVERAL individuals asked the Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday to order the Office of Vice President Sara Duterte to return the P125 million it received last year as the transfer of funds for confidential expenses allegedly violated the Constitution.

The petitioners include Christian Monsod (former Commission on Elections chairman), Barry Gutierrez (OVP spokesperson during Leni Robredo’s term), and Cielo Magno (former Finance Undersecretary), among others. 

In their petition, they said the 2022 national budget did not provide an item for confidential and intelligence expenses for the OVP.

“Thus, it’s clear that Congress did not intend to create any item for confidential expenses, and the release of funds by the Department of Budget and Management to the OVP is a clear usurpation of the exclusive power of Congress to determine how the budget should be spent,” it said.

“The transfer to an item created by executive fiat, which is the confidential fund, is nothing more than to circumvent the proper accounting scrutiny required for the use of public funds.”

The Commission on Audit said the OVP allocation was spent in just 11 days last December.

In a video message, Duterte said she sees the petition as an opportunity to explain the legality of the fund transfer.

“Malugod po naming tinatanggap ang pagkakataong talakayin ang legalidad ng paglilipat ng pondo. Umaasa kami na ang dunong ng Korte Suprema ay magiging daan upang tuluyang matapos ang usapin na ito,” the Vice President said.

Last month, Duterte slammed critics of confidential funds, saying these are necessary to maintain peace and order in the country.

“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.

Duterte had also sought confidential funds for the OVP and Department of Education, which she also leads, in 2024.

However, the House of Representatives rejected this request, deciding instead to reallocate the funds to agencies responsible for monitoring and defending the country’s sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea.

It’s unclear whether the Senate is going to follow the House’s lead. 



We have the stories you’ll want to read.

RepublicAsia Newsletter