MANILA, Philippines – House Committee on Appropriations Chairman and Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles expects a heated debate among his colleagues once the proposed P170.7 billion budget of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for 2018 reaches the plenary.
Nograles, in a radio interview Sunday, said this is due to the current controversies surrounding the Philippine National Police (PNP), which is under the DILG, particularly the escalation of killings of drug suspects, including Grade 11 student Kian Loyd delos Santos of Caloocan City.
A huge portion of the DILG’s proposed appropriation — some P131 billion — is allocated to the PNP. As such, Nograles said he is anticipating calls to reduce the PNP budget over alleged abuses in the implementation of the administration’s anti-narcotics campaign.
“Ine-expect ko pagdating sa plenaryo, it might come out as an issue. Pag-uusapan naman natin do’n itong mga panawagan na bawasan ang pondo ng PNP,” Nograles said in the interview.
The appropriations panel concluded its deliberation on the DILG budget on Thursday, August 17, a day after Delos Santos was killed.
Nograles said he was expecting that the PNP would defend itself and argue that while the policemen — if found guilty of abusing power — should be punished, what happened to Delos Santos should not hinder the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.
“Yong mga nag abuso ay mananagot but the abuses ng cops na ito, ng mga pulis na nang- abuso should not hinder the campaign of the government to eradicate drugs in the streets. So ina-anticipate ko na ganon ang magiging defense,” the lawmaker said.
Nograles said President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-illegal drug campaign must still be pursued even as authorities punish rogue and abusive police officers.
“Kung hindi natin i-pursige ‘yong anti-drugs campaign ni Presidente, the worst thing that can happen is s’yempre lumaganap na naman ang iligal na droga sa bansa,” he said.
[If we don’t pursue the President’s anti-drugs campaign, the worst thing that can happen is of course the spread again of illegal drugs in the country.]
“But that’s not to say we do not give justice to the victims ng abuses ng ating mga kapulisan, [by our policemen],” he said.
“If found guilty at kailangan kasuhan, dapat naman talaga na kasuhan. At ‘yong mga dapat imbestigahan, yong mga pulis na dapat imbestigahan…mga rogue cops, abusive cops, dapat naman talaga ipagpatuloy ang imbestigasyon,” added Nograles.
[If found guilty, they should be charged, that’s the right thing to do. And those who need to be investigated — the rogue cops, abusive cops — it is but right to continue the investigation on them.]