Mong Palatino

Blogging about the Philippines and the Asia-Pacific since 2004


@mongster is a Manila-based activist, former Philippine legislator, and blogger/analyst of Asia-Pacific affairs.

Written for The Diplomat

Opposition lawmakers in the Philippines are questioning the use of confidential funds by Vice President Sara Duterte in 2022, which they claim were in some cases even allocated by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. without the authorization of Congress.

Naturally, it doesn’t look good that almost five billion pesos are allotted for the CIF of Marcos, Duterte, and an increasing number of agencies at a time when the government’s economic managers are proposing to reconsider free college education because of its alleged negative impact on the national treasury. Under the same budget proposal, funds for several specialty hospitals will be slashed as well.

After the Senate hearing, Duterte lashed back at critics and defended the use of CIF. Maybe she should listen to the advice of a veteran legislator who urged her to voluntarily withdraw the CIF in her budget proposal and use it instead to address the basic problems besetting the education sector.

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Philippine Vice President Defends Use of Confidential Funds

Written for The Diplomat

Philippine Vice President Sara Duterte has defended her use of confidential and intelligence funds (CIF) and accused her critics of being “enemies of the state.”

President Ferdinand Marcos has remained silent on the issue although his Executive Secretary has assured the public that the use of CIF by Duterte in 2022 did not violate the law.

Despite the removal of the CIF of Duterte and other civilian agencies, the Senate can still restore these funds in the next two months. Another option for the Senate is to reallocate the funds instead to social services, food subsidies, and salary increases for public workers.

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