Senate can give NTF-ELCAC ‘zero budget’ in 2022, says Drilon
MANILA, Philippines — Aside from realigning this year’s budget of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac), the Senate can also give the task force a zero budget next year.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon explained that the President has the power to realign this year’s P16B budget of the counter-insurgency task force to the pandemic response.
The Senate, meanwhile, can move to give the task force a zero budget in 2022.
“Theoretically, if we are minded…because of the position occupied or which Parlade was designated, the Senate can give them a zero budget in 2022,” Drilon told reporters on Monday, referring to NTF-Elcac spokesperson Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr.
The senator insisted that Parlade’s designation as spokesman of the task force was contrary to the Constitution.
According to Drilon, the Constitution clearly states that “no member of the armed forces in the active service shall at anytime be appointed or designated in any capacity.”
While he did not say the Senate would indeed give the counter-insurgency task force a zero budget in 2022, Drilon noted that he had been opposing the P16 billion funding given to it this year.
“The records of the Senate will show that I have opposed this allocation of P16.414B which to me is improperly lodged in the task force, not even in a regular agency,” he said, adding that the budget of NTF-Elcac was even bigger than a regular agency like the Department of Labor and the Department of Trade.
Drilon nevertheless vowed to continue to scuritnize the NTF-Elcac’s funding when Congress starts deliberations on the 2022 national budget.
Drilon is also set to file a resolution, censuring Paralade for calling stupid those senators pushing to defund the task force.
Parlade drew the ire of senators anew following recent allegations of red-tagging and profiling of community pantry organizers by NTF-Elcac.
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