Zarate: Huge intel fund makes PH look like police-military state
MANILA, Philippines – The huge funds allocated for surveillance makes the Philippines look like a “de facto police-military state,” administration critic and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said on Friday.
This was after reports revealed that the intelligence and confidential funds of the Office of the President (OP) almost doubled, going up from P1.25 billion each in 2017 and 2018, to P2.25 billion.
Zarate said that these figures, if taken into consideration with the steps taken by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), are indicative of an unannounced “martial law.”
“Take this proposed intelligence budget with the proposed amendments to the Human Security Act (HSA) along with the PNP’s and AFP’s push for the revival of the Anti-Subversion law and the militarization of campuses, then these would effectively make the whole Philippines as a police state,” he said in a statement.
“De facto martial law sa buong bansa ang mangyayari sa atin nito,” he added.
According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, the high intelligence and confidential fund, totaling P4.5 billion, is needed as OP needs to “have resources to determine the enemies of the state.”
Aside from the allocation to President Rodrigo Duterte’s office, Zarate also noted that other agencies will also get high intelligence funds. He said that the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), which controls PNP, is poised to get P806 million of intel funds.
He also said that the intel funds of the Department of National Defense (DND), AFP’s mother agency for 2019 will be at P1.7 billion, while the Department of Transportation (DOTr) which controls the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) will have P10 million.
“The Intelligence funds of the DND/AFP, broken down are as follows: Office of the Secretary, P10 million; Philippine Army, P444 million; Philippine Air Force, P17 million; Philippine Navy, P39.7 million; and General Headquarters, P1.18 billion,” Zarate said.
“We must thoroughly scrutinize the proposed national budget, especially on this surveillance budget and its further threats to human rights,” he added.
Other executive offices supposedly obtains another P590 million of intel funds.
Zarate expressed fears that this, along with the proposed amendments to the HSA, may result into erroneous arrests.
“Under the proposed amendments for the HSA, the administration wants to detain supposed terrorists suspects for 60 days without charges and also lengthen the duration of wire tapping against suspects for two months. They also want to lower the P500,000 per day fine of wrongful arrests,” he explained.
“With the dismal human-rights situation in the country, if the PNP and AFP gets these amendments they will just pick up anybody and throw them in jail,” he added. /jpv
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