Hontiveros uses Bea Alonzo meme in response to Duterte’s confi funds statement

September 12, 2023 - 1:17 PM
Risa Hontiveros_Bea Alonzo
Sen. Risa Hontiveros in a Senate hearing on the Office of the Vice President's confidential funds; Screengrab of Bea Alonzo as Bobbie Salazar in "Four Sisters and a Wedding" from YouTube (hontiverosrisa/Facebook; ABSstarcinema/YouTube)

Opposition Sen. Risa Hontiveros used a meme to respond to a statement released by Vice President Sara Duterte who expressed gratitude amid questions surrounding her office’s confidential funds.

The lawmaker shared an image of Bea Alonzo as Bobbie Salazar in the iconic family film “Four Sisters and a Wedding” uttering her famous line: “Pero bakit kasalanan ko? Parang kasalanan ko?”

In the movie, Bea’s character is talking to Teddie (Toni Gonzaga) about how the former knows that she is not the favorite child.

Bobbie adds in the scene that she secretly envies the rest of her siblings.

“Pero bakit parang galit ka? Pero bakit kasalanan ko? Parang kasalanan ko? Eh… sa totoo lang eh, ako ‘yung inggit na inggit sa inyong lahat. Kasi meron kayong mga bagay na sana meron din ako,” Bobbie said in the movie.

Bobbie’s line has since been used as a meme template among online Filipinos who share GIFs or images of the scene as their response to conversations where they feel they get blamed for something they were not responsible for.

RELATED: Bam Aquino shares ‘Pero bakit parang kasalanan ko?’ meme amid Maharlika Wealth Fund news

In the case of Hontiveros, she was using the iconic line to respond to a statement from Duterte who thanked the Palace and her allies for defending the Office of the Vice President‘s (OVP) request for confidential funds last year.

The Commission on Audit said that the OVP under Duterte spent P125 million in confidential funds in 2022, even though her predecessor, former vice president Leni Robredo, did not request it during her term.

Robredo officially stepped down from office in June 2023.

The 2022 General Appropriations Act (GAA), or the law that states the national government’s provisions for a given year, does not contain a line item for confidential funds under the OVP.

Reports said the Office of the President transferred some P P221.4 million to the OVP, including the contentious P125 million worth of confidential funds.

“I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr and to several officials of the Marcos administration who stood by the Office of the Vice President as it faced the storm of attacks on the 2022 Confidential Fund,” Duterte said in a statement on Monday, September 11.

She mentioned Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro and Rep. Stella Quimbo (Marikina, Second District) for defending the OVP’s use of confidential funds and called out her critics for failing to “produce any proof to support their dirty imagination.”

Duterte particularly mentioned Rep. France Castro (Alliance of Concerned Teachers party-list) and Hontiveros, but failed to call out Senate Minority Leader Koko Pimentel III who also questioned her office’s confidential funds.

“Senator Risa Hontiveros, while she amuses the nation with her flair for drama, could only wish the 2022 OVP CF [confidential funds] was accessed illegally,” the vice president said.

Hontiveros had defended her previous interrogation of Duterte during the Senate hearing, where the latter justified her office’s proposed budget, as well as the Department of Education‘s as its secretary.

Duterte, in total, stands to get P650 million in confidential and intelligence funds in the proposed budget for 2024.

At least P500 million of these will go to the OVP, while P150 million will go to DepEd, according to the 2024 National Expenditure Program.

Duterte had said that they “can live without” the confidential funds but added that it would make their jobs “much easier” in “monitoring the safe, secure, and successful implementation of the programs, projects, and activities of the OVP.”

Hontiveros commented that every agency releases its proposed budgets, adding that the OVP is “not special” when it comes to questioning in budget hearings.

“If you’re so confident about those confidential funds, then defend them publicly,” she said on Monday.

The senator also slammed Duterte for the latter’s conduct in the hearing.

“Kung meron mang ‘amusing,’ yan ay yung halos kalahating oras na turo-turo, pag-iwas sa tanong, paikot-ikot na sagot, at pagbabalu-baluktot ng sitwasyon. Ginawa nilang perya ang basic na proseso ng pagbusisi ng pera ng bayan,” Hontiveros said.

She also said Duterte should not be evasive when questioned about the usage of the confidential funds of her office and the DepEd, adding that it is bigger than the combined confidential funds of the Department of National Defense and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency.

“Given the significant responsibility of government officials, I demand a shred of competence when it comes to fiscal matters—like any Filipino taxpayer,” the senator said.

Duterte said that nearly all major social welfare and public assistance programs under her office use confidential funds.

These include entrepreneurship program, peacebuilding in communities, the Pagbabago campaign (distribution of free school supplies), the PagbaBAGo: A Million Learners and Trees program (tree-planting), the Pansarap program (feeding program), the Disaster Operations Center (disaster relief program) and the Libreng Sakay program (free transportation program).

According to Hontiveros, the guidelines for confidential expenses said these can only be used for a “limited range of purposes,” specifically those that are related to surveillance activities.

A 2015 joint circular covering the use of confidential and intelligence funds limits the use of confidential expenses to activities related to surveillance and information-gathering.