Vice President Sara Duterte is ordering the police to now treat critics of her office’s confidential funds as enemies of the state, ACT Teachers’ Party Rep. France Castro said.
In her failed defense of her hundreds of millions of pesos in confidential funds, Dutere resorts to personal attacks and tells the police how to look at her critics, Castro added.
“What happened to her statement that she and her office can live without confidential funds? Why is now fighting tooth and nail just to retain her confidential funds?” Castro asked.
The teacher solon said the vice president is gaslighting (psychologically manipulating) those calling for transparency and accountability after it was revealed by House of Representatives ally Marikina Rep. Stella Quimbo in the national budget deliberations that Duterte’s office spent P125 million in just 11 days last year.
Duterte remarked during the 122nd Police Service Anniversary of the Philippine National Police Regional Office 13 last October 4 that her critics have “insidious motivations” in questioning confidential funds.
“Anyone who attacks or undermines funds allocated for peace and order is naturally assumed to have insidious motivations. Such actions go against the protection and well-being of our citizenry. Those who seek to compromise the security and development of our nation jeopardize the very fabric of our society and hinder our progress,” Duterte said.
The vice president added that the Department of Education (DepEd) that she heads is part of the Anti-Terrorism Council as well as the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.
Neither the Office of the Vice President nor DepEd have clear national security mandates, however.
Castro condemned Duterte’s remarks aimed at making it appear that Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri; Senators Joel Villanueva, Koko Pimentel, and Risa Hontiveros; as well as the Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives; Speaker Martin Romualdez; and Reps. Elizaldy Co and Edcel Lagman have dangerous reasons in wanting to remove confidential funds in her budget.
“In essence, she is saying we give her funds when she asks and she should not be questioned how these are spent,” Castro said.
“Instead of trying to justify her illegal confidential fund spending in 2022 and asking for more secret funds, VP Duterte should concentrate on how to improve the dismal state of education now,” Castro said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)