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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)