Solon wants ‘suspension’ of P900-M drug war budget
A member of the militant Makabayan party-list bloc has asked the House of Representatives to either put the proposed P900-million budget for the government’s antidrug campaign for 2018 “in a suspended mode” until a “serious precondition” is met—justice for the drug suspects brutally killed in police operations.
Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao, during the House’s marathon plenary debates on the wee hours of Thursday, appealed to the House to perform its duty “not to take part in whatever process that will allow another Kian, another Carl, another Reynaldo.”
Casilao was referring to the 17-year old Kian Loyd delos Santos, who was killed by policemen within sight of a surveillance camera and retroactively referred to as a drug suspect, 19-year old Carl Angelo Arnaiz, an alleged taxi robber who was shot by policemen, and his 14-year old companion Reynaldo de Guzman.
“Parents are now in a state of fear for their children because of what happened to Kian, what happened to Carl, and the companion of Carl,” he said.
Casilao said the House should not just approve the allocation for the so-called Oplan Double Barrel Reloaded just because President Duterte and Philippine National Police Director-General Ronald dela Rosa made a “simple promise” to deliver justice.
He added the appropriations committee should place a precondition preventing the use of the budget “unless [these incidents] are not repeated and we see the perpetrators behind bars.”
“It would be just to request that as long as we don’t see the commitment of President Duterte and PNP Chief Dela Rosa that [the perpetrators] will be held accountable and we will see them behind bars, I think it is but proper for the appropriations committee to put a colatilla,” Casilao said.
Nueva Vizcaya Rep. Luisa Cuaresma, who sponsored the budget of the PNP’s parent agency, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, committed to discuss the proposal with the House leadership.
“This will be taken up with the leadership and maybe it’s all up now for the leadership to decide, but we’ll take note of that manifestation,” Cuaresma told Casilao.
Besides Casilao, only Minority Floor Leader Danilo Suarez, as well as Casilao’s bloc-mates, Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas and ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio raised questions regarding the war on drugs.
The interpellation on the budget was terminated past midnight, prompting Brosas to issue a statement criticizing the DILG budget’s approval.
“The blood-stained DILG budget, with a P900-million allocation for PNP-sponsored killings, was passed in the dead of the night as another alleged drug suspect was shot dead in Manila. This is very telling of how monsters love the dead of the night,” Brosas said on Thursday morning.
Still, Casilao continued to hold on to his proposal in a press briefing on Thursday afternoon. “Hopefully, the collective wisdom of this house will take this into consideration,” he said.
Appropriations committee chair Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles, a Duterte ally, has yet to respond to requests for comment on what the House leadership plans to do with Casilao’s proposal.
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