Kian’s killing puts P900-M budget for drug war in limbo
Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto questioned on Sunday the request of the Philippine National Police for P900 million to fund “Oplan Double Barrel Reloaded” following the killing of a 17-year-old boy in a drug operation in Caloocan City.
“Before such campaign is reloaded with funds, questions as to how it will be implemented must first be asked by the institution which will approve that request – Congress,” Recto said in a statement.
The senator said he expected that a review of how Kian delos Santos, a grade 11 student, was killed by policemen “will be pursued on many fronts.”
“Kian’s life was ended so dastardly that it has united the nation in anger and grief. This national pain can only be salved by the truth. In the House and in the Senate, the budget hearings will provide an opportunity for oversight, which could answer a very critical question: What are the sources of funds for this nationwide operation?” Recto asked.
Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles, chair of the House appropriations panel, earlier said in a statement the following proposed appropriations for PNP next year:
– A law enforcement budget of P131.5 billion, or 17.6 percent higher than the 2017 allocation of P111.8 billion.
– Some P1.4 billion of this amount will be spent for the hiring of 10,000 new Police Officer 1 recruits to expand the current count of around 194,410 police officers.
– A P900-million budget for Oplan Double Barrel Reloaded, the administration’s campaign against illegal drugs.
Referring to this budget request, Recto said specific questions on the implementation of Oplan Double Barrel should be asked.
“It (Congress) should not write a blank check. PNP will also get a P20 billion increase in its budget next year, to P131.5 billion, from P111.8 billion this year. Para saan ba ang budget na ito? Ano ang mga targets na kakamtin?”
The senator also raised the possibility of spending the fund for “crime deterrence” such as “24/7 foot patrols.”
“Is this enough to fund the suppression of other crimes, like riding-in-tandem and akyat-bahay robberies? Are funds better spent for deterrence, like 24/7 foot patrols? Hindi ba mas mainam ang triple patrols kesa dun sa double barrel,” said Recto.
Meanwhile, Recto said the Internal Affairs Service (IAS), which has a P731 million proposed budget, should also be asked about how they would spend the fund.
“Mabuti ring tanungin ang IAS kung paano nila gagastahin ang pondong ito para sa madisiplina ang mga tiwaling pulis. The IAS is the tripwire of abuses and the whistleblower of bad deeds. Is it doing its job?”
A provision in the PNP’s budget which offers payment for damages to private property, and for injury and death of civilian resulting from police operation upon orders of a competent court, Recto said, should also be studied for revision.
“Kung may mga nasaging mga nakaparadang sasakyan sa isang operasyon o mga sibilyan na nasugatan ng ligaw na bala, bakit pa hihintayin ang desisyon ng isang huwes kung handa naman ang PNP na magbigay ng ayuda?” the senator said. CBB