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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

House leader douses impeach Duterte rumor over intel funds

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House Majority Leader Mannix Dalipe on Thursday dismissed as “unfounded” rumors of an alleged plan to file an impeachment complaint against Vice President Sara Duterte.

“The speculation of House Leaders planning to impeach the Vice President is unfounded,” Dalipe said in a statement.

He said those circulating the rumor aimed to sow political division between the Vice President and Speaker Martin Romualdez.

“There is no truth in them. These rumors are without merit,” Dalipe said.

Dalipe also offered reassurance to supporters of the Vice President.

“If she has not committed any wrongdoing, there is no reason for concern about these baseless rumors,” he said.

Last week, the Supreme Court was asked to order the Office of the Vice President to return the P125 million confidential funds it spent in 2022 to the government’s treasury, saying these were “unconstitutional.”

In a 49-page petition, the petitioners said the transfer of funds from the Office of the President to the OVP was an exercise of legislative power.

This violated Article VI, Section 1 of the 1986 Constitution which provides that legislative power belongs to the Senate and House of Representatives, he said.

Duterte, for her part, welcomed the filing of the petition before the High Court, saying this will give her a chance to clear her name.

“We welcome the opportunity to discuss the legality of fund transfers.

We hope that the wisdom of the Supreme Court will pave the way to finally end this matter,” she said.

The petitioners included former Commission on Elections chairman Augusto Lagman, Constitution framer Christian Monsod, former Finance Usec. Maria Cielo Magno, Commission on Filipinos Overseas chairperson Imelda Nicolas, and lawyer Ibarra Gutierrez III, ex-spokesman of former Vice President Leni Robredo.

“Under the doctrine of separation of powers, the power of appropriation falls exclusively within the domain of the legislative branch of government. Congress decides how the budget will be spent, what programs, activities, and projects (PAP) to fund, and the amounts of money to be spent for each PAP,” read their petition.

“Verily, the appropriation done by the DBM (Department of Budget and Management) is a clear usurpation of the legislative powers of the Congress of the Philippines to create and fund an item that has not been done so by the Congress itself.”

The petitioners argued that there is no “delegated legislative power” in the transfer and that confidential funds do not fall under the funding allowed by the contingent fund.

The transfer, they said, was also a circumvention of accountability.

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