MANILA, Philippines – The Office of the Vice President faces a third petition for the P125-million confidential funds in 2022 reached the Supreme Court on Monday.
A 36-page petition has been submitted to the Supreme Court urging of declaring the use of confidential funds as void, and to declare this as auditable by the Commission on Audit (COA).
Makabayan Bloc also demanded Vice President Sara Duterte’s office to return the P125-million to the government.
“Our prayer is for the SC to declare null and void and unconstitutional the release, request, receipt, and use by Sara Duterte of the confidential funds,” ACT-Teacher party-list Rep. France Castro said in an ambush interview.
“And if it is proven unconstitutional, it must be returned,” she added.
The petitioners are Rep. France Castro (ACT-Teachers), Rep. Arlene Brosas (Gabriela), Rep. Raoul Manuel (Kabataan), Bayan Muna Chairman Neri Colmenares, former Bayan Muna Partylist Representatives Carlos Zarate, Ferdinand Gaite, Eufemia Cullamat and Raymond Palatino.
The first petition, submitted on November 7, questioned the constitutionality of transferring the Office of the President’s contingency fund to the Vice President’s confidential funds. It argued that such a transfer should be within the legislative authority.
The second petition, filed by ex-Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, alongside legal and religious figures, calls upon the Supreme Court to annul Executive Order No. 2 and Commission on Audit Joint Circular 2015-01. These directives facilitate the use, transfer, and distribution of confidential funds without undergoing audit scrutiny.
The third petition is similar to the first two petitions, highlighting that the OVP lacks congressional authorization for confidential expenses since it’s not specified in the 2022 budget for the OVP.
In August, Duterte said that there was “nothing irregular or unauthorized ” about how the funds were spent. The Commission on Audit initially revealed that the Office of the Vice President disbursed P125 million within an 11-day period in December 2022.