PAO chief Acosta dismayed over transfer of P19.5 M forensic lab budget to NBI
MANILA, Philippines – Public Attorneys’ Office (PAO) chief Persida Rueda-Acosta on Thursday expressed disappointment over the transfer of P19.5-million supposed to be allotted by President Rodrigo Duterte for the agency’s forensic laboratory to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
“It was a sad day for the PAO forensics team and its clients,” Acosta told reporters referring to Wednesday’s Department of Justice (DOJ) budget hearing at the Senate.
“The P19.5 million budget by President Duterte for the PAO forensic laboratory equipment was transferred by senators to the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation),” she said, pointing out that the NBI does not need additional funds.
In fact, she said: “The NBI’s budget last year was not 100 percent utilized.”
“Bakit sobrang api kami (Why are we being trampled on),” she asked as she pointed out that the PAO forensic laboratory needs the allocation more as it continues to conduct autopsies, including those who died after getting shots of the experimental anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia.
To date, she said they have kept the forensics laboratory running despite the measly budget.
“Pinagkakasya na lang namin ang pondo namin (We try to keep our spending within budget),” she stated.
The PAO chief maintained that its forensic laboratory has helped a great deal with the cases they handled.
She added that even the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has its own forensic laboratory but was still granted a P239 million budget for next year.
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