Philippine Senator Risa Hontiveros Questions Swift PHP 125 Million Expenditure by VP Sara Duterte’s Office
Philippine opposition senator, Risa Hontiveros, has raised concerns over the alleged expenditure of PHP 125 million ($2.45 million) by the office of Vice President Sara Duterte within a short span of 11 days. This confidential fund (CF) spending by the VP’s office has sparked curiosity and raised questions about the use of such funds by civilian agencies.
According to Hontiveros, the Confidential Funds (CF) are meant to be used for surveillance activities by civilian agencies only. The senator compared the office of the Vice President’s alleged spending with the Philippine Coast Guard’s use of its own CF. She pointed out that the Coast Guard spent PHP 117 million over 17 years for monitoring activities in the West Philippine Sea. This comparison raises questions about the nature and necessity of the VP’s office’s alleged rapid spending.
The issue of the alleged CF spending by the Office of the Vice President (OVP) came to the forefront during a house hearing on the proposed 2024 budget. Hontiveros questioned what the VP’s office had to show for the large expenditure. She asked if the office had mass-hired informants or built safehouses in such a short span. The context and justification for such a large spending have yet to be clarified.
Vice President’s Response to the Allegations
In response to these allegations, Vice President Sara Duterte has maintained that the CF were used for the secure and successful implementation of the OVP’s programs and projects. However, she has not provided a detailed account of the spending, which continues to fuel speculation and demands for transparency from the opposition.
The Need for Accountability and Transparency
This incident underlines the importance of transparency and accountability in the handling of public funds, particularly when they are designated as confidential funds. The lack of detailed accounting and the speed at which these funds were allegedly spent raise serious questions about their use and management. The debate over the alleged PHP 125 million expenditure by the Philippine VP’s office underscores the need for transparency and accountability in public office. The lack of a detailed account of the spending continues to fuel questions and demands for clarification.
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