House Majority Leader and Zamboanga City 2nd district Rep. Mannix Dalipe would rather not touch the confidential and intelligence funds under Vice President Sara Duterte.
In a chance interview on the sidelines of the flag-raising ceremony Monday, Oct. 3 at the House of Representatives, Dalipe was asked to react to calls from Senate Minority Leader Koko Pimentel to realign more funds to the construction of new classrooms under the Department of Education's (DepEd) proposed 2023 budget.
"Well I'm one with him for additional budget for the classrooms," Dalipe said of Pimentel.
"But not necessarily naman kukunin sa confidential funds (But it shouldn't necessarily be taken from confidential funds) because when the Vice President was here during the sponsorship of the budget of our department, the , clear naman kay Vice President-Secretary Sara Duterte yung purpose ng confidential funds (Vice President-Secretary Sara Duterte was clear about the purpose of the funds)," added the majority leader.
"And if there is a need to add more funds for classrooms then we will add accordingly, pag-uusapan po namin yun (we will discuss it)," he noted.
Duterte is the concurrent secretary of DepEd. Under the 2023 General Appropriations Bill (GAB), Duterte has separate allocations for confidential and intelligence funds in her capacity as Vice President and education chief. The amounts are worth P500 million and P150 million, respectively.
However, when asked to clarify if the P500-million and P150-million allocations no longer be touched for realignments, Dalipe simply said, "We will update you after yung small group namin (after our small group convenes)."
By "small group", the Mindanao solon was referring to the small committee that was formed last Sept. 28 by the House leadership. The committee's task is to incorporate the House members' amendments to the P5.268-trillion General Appropriations Bill (GAB), which was approved on third and final reading that same day.
Dalipe is joined in the small committee by Appropriations Committee Chairman Zaldy Co (Ako Bicol Party-list), Appropriations Committee Senior Vice Chairperson Stella Quimbo (Marikina City 2nd district), and Minority Leader Nonoy Libanan (4Ps Party-list).
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Opposition figures in the House are wary over the existence of confidential and intelligence funds since their usage or utilization can't be scrutinized like traditional items in the budget.
Dalipe chairs the powerful Committee on Rules.