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Image Courtesy of Inday Sara Duterte Official Facebook Account

By Junex Doronio

LIKE MAGIC, the Office of the Vice President (OVP) spent its 2022 confidential funds amounting to P125 million in just 11 days.

This was revealed on Monday by Marikina City Rep. Stella Quimbo who became an unexpected and instant ally of Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas who — along with her fellow lawmakers from the so-called Makabayan bloc — thought the OVP confidential funds were spent in 19 days.

“Ang totoo po ay nagulat din po ako nung mabasa ko ang mga balita na tila nagastos po sa loob ng 19 days [ang CF]… Tinanong ko po ang COA (Commission on Audit) at tiningnan ko po ang mga iba’t ibang mga reports pero hindi po ito nagastos sa loob ng 19 days kung hindi 11 days po,” Quimbo said.

Ironically, Quimbo has been defending the OVP’s confidential funds, but now she was speaking on behalf of the Commission on Audit (COA) during the plenary deliberation on the proposed 2024 budget.

The Marikina City solon said the COA has asked the OVP to further explain and provide more documents to support its use of the P125-million confidential funds in 2022.

Quimbo further stated that the OVP submitted its liquidation report back in January 2023 and the COA issued an audit observation memorandum in September for the OVP to explain.

With the anti-communist stance of VP Duterte and the penchant to red-tag government critics, Brosas appeared more apprehensive.

“Eleven days, ang hirap isipin kasi parang kung surveillance yan, ilang reward payment po yan na aabot ng P11 million per day,” she blurted out. (ai/mnm)

Image Courtesy of: Inday Sara Duterte (Facebook)

By: Junex Doronio

APPARENTLY AFFECTED by the controversy generated by the P150-million confidential and intelligence fund (CIF) for the Department of Education (DepEd) where she also sits as concurrent head, Vice President Sara Duterte’s popularity as Education Secretary dipped from 66 percent in the second quarter to 60 percent in the third quarter.

This was revealed on Friday by
PUBLiCUS Asia Inc. which said the P150-million CIF for DepEd “is now at the forefront as the most pressing issue hurting her (VP Duterte} overall performance.”

Seemingly, the public being surveyed was not convinced by Duterte’s justification of her CIF that it’s for the DepEd’s anti-insurgency efforts.

“Education is intertwined with national security. It’s important for us to mold children who are patriotic, who will love our country and defend our country,” Duterte said.

The Vice President — eldest daughter of former President Rodrigo Roa Duterte noticeably uses her father’s surname instead of her marital name Carpio — is also the co-vice chairman of the government’s anti-communist insurgency task force, the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.

The elder Duterte once vowed to wipe out the communist insurgency within his six-year-term but failed just like his anti-drug campaign.

PUBLiCUS Asia Inc. claimed that the noncommissioned survey was conducted from September 7 to September 12. Its respondents were randomly drawn from the market research panel of over 200,000 Filipinos maintained by the Singapore office of PureSpectrum, a US-based panel marketplace.

It added that the respondents were spread across five geographical areas — National Capital Region, North Central Luzon, South Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

This latest development was reminiscent of former Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay whose popularity declined due to graft charges and eventually lost when he ran for president in 2016.

By Junex Doronio

NOTICING THAT MANY ONLINE SCAMS and cyber sex abuses come from other countries, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has justified its request for P300 million in confidential funds, saying it is crucial in the agency’s fight against scammers and cybercriminals.

DICT Secretary John Uy also disclosed that they are now coordinating with law enforcement agencies of those countries where cybercriminals operate to stop online financial crimes, as well as sexual abuses, especially those victimizing Filipino children.

“Many of these operators, they hide behind extra-territoriality because they feel if they operate from another country and the victims are not in that country but elsewhere, the law enforcers do not bother them,” Uy said on Tuesday, September 19, before the hearing of Senate finance committee.

Regarding online sexual abuses, Uy said the DICT informs the country where the perpetrators are located, and their law enforcers will track them down and seize the materials being used.

“What we’re trying to do is we’re trying to make the world smaller for them by having exchanges with these countries,” he pointed out.


By: Junex Doronio

REMINISCENT OF THE bitter experience of former Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binary who had been leading the surveys as the preferred presidential bet in 2016 but lost due to corruption charges against him, the controversy of P125-million confidential funds for the Office of the Vice President (OVP) may gravely affect Vice President Sara Duterte’s chances in a three-way presidential race with Speaker Martin Romualdez and Senator Risa Hontiveros.

Political analyst and University of the Philippines professor Ela Atienza noted that Duterte attacked Hontivero because she perceived the senator as a “threat”.

“The highest ranking opposition now is Risa. But the point is, [Duterte] has to show that she knows something, at lumalabas napakapikon niya, ‘di ba?” Atienza said.

The UP professor also recalled the case of Binay who had to face controversies mid-term and now VP Sara already had to grapple with them in her first year of office.

Failing to give satisfactory answers on how confidential funds of the OVP were used in 2022 when no line item for them existed in the previous budget, Duterte resorted to personal attacks against her critics, singling out Hontiveros and ACT Teachers Representative France Castro.

Atienza said that Duterte engaging in a word war with Hontiveros and trying to dodge explaining her CF only showed that she wasn’t ready to be criticized nor questioned.

“In Davao, she’s spoiled. In Davao, there’s a group of people protecting her, they answer for her. They run the city hall for her. She is very defensive because she’s not used to being criticized. She usually has other people answering for her but this is the national stage,” she said.

On the other hand, sociologist Jayeel Cornelio said that while Sara enjoys tremendous popularity while reaping the benefits of the Duterte brand (thanks to her father, former President Rodrigo Roa Duterte), she cannot escape public scrutiny when it comes to issues of corruption. (AI/MNM)