Senate minority wants to stop 'practice' of giving DepEd confidential fund, Pimentel says

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 01 2022 11:53 AM | Updated as of Oct 01 2022 12:11 PM

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MANILA — The Senate minority bloc is seeking to avert the possible beginning of a "practice" of giving the Department of Education a confidential fund, a lawmaker said Saturday.

Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte has asked Congress to allot a P150-million confidential fund to the education department, saying the money is meant to address illegal activities targeting students.

However, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo that it was not customary for the DepEd to receive such a fund.

"Hindi ugali ng ... Hindi [customary sa] DepEd na merong confidential or intelligence fund ang secretary," he said.

"Ngayon mag-uumpisa ng bagong practice P150 million. Ang idea namin sa minority huwag na nating umpisahan itong practice na ito."

Pimentel pointed out that a confidential fund is a kind of lump sum and only has a "motherhood category," which he said is against the spirit of line-item budgeting indicated in the Constitution and Supreme Court decisions.

"I-itemize mo, klaruhin mo, i-identify na ninyo kung ano 'yung gastusin. 'Yung practice na 'yan una sa lahat ayaw na natin umpisahan pa ng DepEd," he said.

"'Yung halaga na P150 million di ba better spent 'yun directly sa isang gastusin na directly related sa pagtuturo o sa pag-aaral ng ating mga kabataan?"

Duterte is now leaving it up to Congress whether or not to grant the DepEd's confidential fund.

—TeleRadyo, October 1, 2022