This move has raised questions among leftist lawmakers in Congress regarding the transfer of P125 million in confidential funds to VP Sara Duterte’s office.
Bautista explained that the OVP had no budget for 2022 because the budget was approved during the tenure of former VP Leni Robredo.
During that time, Robredo and former President Rodrigo RoaDuterte were not political allies.
“So, what happened here is because of the many projects that VP Sara undertook, she needed resources. And willingly, the President provided the support that the OVP badly needed,” according to Rep. Claude Bautista, Davao Occidental Lone District.
Bautista emphasized that it had been a long time since the President and the Vice President were not political allies.
According to the congressman, who was actively involved in the 2022 election period, VP Sara and President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. had an agreement to support each other.
This resulted in the contingent funds being allocated from the OP to the OVP.
“It’s good that our Vice President is taking action. It’s good that she’s also concerned about other aspects that she’s a part of because they are united. They are together. The success of one is the success of all. And the failure of one is the failure of everybody,” Bautista added.
During the budget hearing on Monday, the Makabayan Bloc questioned why the OVP’s confidential funds were spent so quickly.
According to the Commission on Audit (COA), the P125 million in confidential funds of the OVP were spent in just 11 days.
However, this audit is still ongoing.
“Has the audit of all these expenses been completed, Madam Speaker? Madam Speaker,” Rep. Arlene Brosas, Gabriela Party-list said.
“Madam Speaker, the audit is ongoing. And this morning, I learned that the COA has provided their preliminary observations to the Office of the Vice President,” Rep. Stella Quimbo, Sponsor of the COA’s 2024 Budget said.
However, Bautista believes that Filipinos should not be concerned. He dismissed allegations of irregularities in VP Sara’s fund usage.
Bautista emphasized that, from the past to the present, Vice President Duterte has been honest when it comes to public funds.
Bautista on VP Sara’s fund usage: She’s transparent when it comes to public funds
“I can assure my fellow countrymen that the Vice President is just there to do her job. And it is an exemplary undertaking by our Vice President because she doesn’t meddle. What’s important to her is what’s right for the progress and development of our country. That’s what she’s doing.”
“We knew it even before, everybody knows even before when she was the mayor of Davao City. The progress of Davao City emanates from her leadership,” Bautista said.