“That’s a bit too much speculation,” Romualdez insisted. “Under the circumstances, we felt it would be best that [the funds] be realigned to agencies and departments or areas we consider a priority.”
Romualdez even borrowed a line from Duterte who previously told lawmakers her office can live without confidential funds.
The relationship between the two have not been smooth in the past months.
An apparent feud spilled into the open in May in the aftermath of an internal quarrel in the House involving Romualdez and his mentor, former president and current Pampanga 2nd District Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Duterte, a close ally of Arroyo, did not take it lightly when the House unceremoniously stripped her of the senior deputy speakership post.
Duterte subsequently resigned from Lakas-CMD, the political party of the three of them, due to the “political toxicity” in the lower chamber
In June, Duterte deliberately refused to mention Marcos’ middle name – Romualdez – during an event, which some of the Speaker’s allies took offense with.
In July though, the two were seen walking arm in arm during President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s sendoff to Malaysia, in an apparent attempt to show the public they have patched things up.
Duterte is requesting P650 million in combined confidential funds for the Office of the Vice President and the Department of Education for 2024.