The transfer or release by the Department of Budget and Management of P125 million from the contingent fund of the President is flawed for the following reasons:
- Under Section 25 (5) of Article VI of the Constitution, transfer of funds is prohibited except with respect to constitutional officers like the President relative to savings for augmentation of any deficient allocation in their respective offices. Consequently, it is unconstitutional for any transfer of funds from the Office of the President to another office like the Office of the Vice President.
- Transfer for augmentation must be from savingsof the office concerned. It was admitted that in the President’s contingent fund, the savings in 2022 was only P50 million but the release to the Office of the Vice President was P125 million. In other words, it was not from savings. Moreover, the Office of the President, through its sponsor, repeatedly said that the release of the amount was not from savings.
- The transfer or release is to augment deficiencies in the items of appropriation of the constitutional office concerned, which in this instance is the Office of the President. Moreover, there was nothing to be augmented because the Office of the Vice President had a zero appropriation for confidential funds in 2022. Zero appropriation cannot be augmented. The fund transfer or release also derogates the clear intention of the Congress not to appropriate any allocation for said item.
- The letter dated 22 August 2022 of the Vice President to the Budget Secretary requested for the release of funds by augmentation and for confidential funds, both of which are prohibited.