Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recquestioned 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 expects 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?”
He 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 meant to discipline erring policemen.
“The IAS is the tripwire of abuses and the whistleblower of bad deeds. Is it doing its job?” Recto asked
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.
Against all forms of violence
Meanwhile, the Department of Education has issued a statement denouncing the murder of Delos Santos and “all forms of violence against our students, teachers, and personnel.”
“The Department of Education strongly condemns the shooting of Kian Loyd Delos Santos, a Grade 11 student of Our Lady of Lourdes Senior High School in Valenzuela, by elements of the Caloocan police,” it said in a statement.
The DepEd said it supports calls for an “impartial investigation” of what happened.
“We also support President Duterte’s directive to uphold the rule of law, and to put to jail those who will be found responsible for the student’s death,” it said.
“While we acknowledge that law enforcement is an important aspect in the government’s comprehensive efforts to battle illegal drugs, ensuring accuracy of information and upholding the rule of law should not be compromised,” DepEd said.
The agency expressed sympathies to the family and loved ones of Delos Santos.