This week, the Office of the Vice President will defend its budget proposal of P2.292 billion under the National Expenditure Program or NEP before the House of Representatives appropriations committee.
This will be the same day Department of Education officials will brief lawmakers on the department’s proposed funding, with some critics noting the Vice President is the concurrent education secretary.
The NEP is the budget document prepared and submitted by the country’s economic managers to Congress for its approval.
This early, critics’ decibels have made a distinct hubbub, with some arguing this proposed budget for the Office of the Vice President is comparatively a three-fold increase from the budget of the incumbent vice president’s predecessor who got only P702 million budget in 2022.
The spokesman for Vice President Duterte, lawyer Reynold Munsayac, has said the good governance program of the OVP will fund projects like Libreng sakay (free rides); Pagbabago campaign; OVP food trucks; Livelihood programs like Magnegosyo Ta Day and Peace 911; Medical assistance; and Burial assistance.
Magnegosyo Ta Day and Peace 911 are programs Duterte spearheaded when she was mayor of Davao City before she was elected vice president last May 9, 2022.
The Vice President is also asking for P500 million in “confidential expenses” and P620 million in “extraordinary and miscellaneous expenses” for 2023.
Other critics, the likes of one who reads the news and inserts his editorials, has questioned why the OVP should be given that much budget, when the person, “under the Constitution” he said, is “only a spare tire.”
The Constitutional provision cited by this blind as a bat critic, is Article VII, Section 8, from which he used the word “spare tire” or someone given a budget while, the undertone, doing nothing.
Article VII, Section 8 says: “In case of death, permanent disability, removal from office, or resignation of the President, the Vice-President shall become the President to serve the unexpired term. In case of death, permanent disability, removal from office, or resignation of both the President and Vice-President, the President of the Senate or, in case of his inability, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, shall then act as President until the President or Vice-President shall have been elected and qualified.”
Section 3, paragraph 2 of the same Article says: “The Vice-President may be appointed as a Member of the Cabinet. Such appointment requires no confirmation.”
This critic appears to have a hidden agenda and insults the intelligence of the Filipino people.
He wants his listeners to climb up his stage and wave a hand that if indeed the vice president is just a “spare tire” and just have to wait in the wings, why give the OVP that much budget?
Far afield. Or nihil ad rem.