PCOO budget stalled until Badoy issues ‘unconditional apology’ – minority leader
MANILA, Philippines — House deliberations on the proposed budget of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) will remain deferred until Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy issues an “unconditional apology” for red-tagging some lawmakers, said House Minority Leader Rep. Bienvenido “ Benny” Abante Jr.
“We have deferred the budget of the PCOO until Usec. Badoy issues an unconditional apology. When we speak of the term unconditional apology, to be honest, it’s redundant,” Abante said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel on Wednesday.
Makabayan bloc lawmakers, whose members were tagged by Badoy as “high-ranking officials of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF),” earlier called for the PCOO official’s resignation.
Badoy initially rejected the call to resign, saying that she should not be the one to leave office because she had never deceived Filipinos.
She then said she would only be willing to resign if the six Makabayan lawmakers denounce the communist rebels’ atrocities, among other conditions.
“An apology is not an apology if it comes with strings attached. If you are sorry, you say sorry pero hindi mo sinasabi na ‘Sorry, pero ito ang gawin niyo.’ The setting of conditions, in our view, just shows that she is insincere regarding her apology. A hollow apology is nothing but empty words,” Abante went on.
He said it is “inappropriate and unbecoming” of a public official to “accuse members of the House of being terrorists.”
“It’s not appropriate for a high government official to say that to any sitting congressman. She’s got to remember that we are elected officials and to be able to accuse members of the House of being terrorists is an issue that involves the whole House. Not just our colleagues from the Makabayan bloc,” the House minority leader said.
“I believe it would be inappropriate, unbecoming of a government official, particularly somehow who works at an official communication arm of the government, to accuse House members of crimes without proof,” he added.
The congressman said that if Badoy can back her accusations with proof, she could run to the courts and file a case instead of going to the “court of public opinion.”
“Sinabi ko na nga sa kanya, kung meron kayong mga ebidensya…why would you go to the court of public opinion and convict some of the House members by publicity? I mean, go to court,” Abante said.
“Sa amin, you accuse a member of the House to be a terrorist, it’s like accusing House members of being thieves or being corrupt without evidence. Hindi naman kami papayag na gawin yan ng mga katapat namin sa executive department,” he added.
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