ADHERING to tradition, the House Committee on Appropriations passed the proposed budget for the Office of the President (OP) and Office of the Vice President (OVP) without much scrutiny.
The deliberation on the budget of the OP amounting to P19.990 billion lasted for only nine minutes.
On the other hand, it took only three minutes for the panel to approve the OVP budget amounting to P428 million.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea presented the first budget of President Rodrigo Duterte, which is 600 percent higher than the last OP budget under ex-president Benigno Aquino III of only P2 billion.
The bulk of the OP's budget, P15.4 billion, is the fund to be used in the golden anniversary of ASEAN next year, with the Philippines as host.
Duterte's confidential fund is P2.5 billion which is P2 billion higher than the last administration's budget of only P500 million.
Not a single lawmaker, even members of the opposition, objected to the approval of the OP's budget.
Vice President Leni Robredo was not present during the presentation of the OVP budget due to prior commitment in Pagadian.
"The VIce President apologizes for not being here. She was a former member of the House and she knows how important the budget is. But because of conflict in schedule she cannot make it. She really wanted to be here," chairman of the appropriations committee Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles told members of the panel.
Robredo’s Chief of Staff Boyet Dy represented her during the budget briefing and the solons okayed the OVP budget proposal even without presentation.