MANILA, Philippines — Supreme Court (SC) has ordered Vice President Sara Duterte to respond to the petition challenging the constitutionality of the Office of the Vice President’s P125-million confidential fund in 2022. In a two-page notice made public Monday, the High Tribunal also directed Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin and Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman to comment on the matter. SC has not yet acted on the petition, as it first wants to get the side of the respondents, which is part of the procedure. “Acting on the petition for certiorari, the court resolved, without giving due course to the petition, to require the respondents to comment thereon within 10 days from notice hereof,” read the SC’s notice. Petitioners, led by former Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chair Christian Monsod, not only want the SC to declare as unconstitutional the transfer of the P125 million to the OVP in 2022, but they also want an order to return the money to the treasury department. After the comment, the petitioners have five days to submit their reply. The controversy on the confidential fund started when opposition lawmakers said Duterte spent P125 million in CIF funds in 2022, even if her office was not given an allocation for such funds under that year’s General Appropriations Act. They said the amount was spent by Duterte’s office in a span of just 11 days in December 2022. Eventually, Congress removed OVP’s request for P500 million in such funding, as well as another P150 million for the Department of Education (DepEd), which Duterte also headed, in the 2024 budget.

2023-12-04T05:25:22Z dg43tfdfdgfd