The P900 million originally intended for the 2018 budget of Project Double Barrel, the anti-drug campaign of the Philippine National Police (PNP), has been realigned by the Senate for housing of military troops and police officers, Sen. Loren Legarda said on Wednesday.
“Nilagay natin yan sa housing ng ating mga sundalo at mga pulis yang (We allocated to the housing of soldiers and policemen the) P900 miilion,” she said. “We also gave the police the body cams [they had been asking for].”
Legarda, chair of the Senate committee on finance, talked to reporters after the Senate unanimously approved the proposed P3.767-trillion national budget next year.
Legarda assured the PNP would still have enough funds to combat illegal drugs should President Rodrigo Duterte decide to return to it the leadership of the anti-drug war.
“Suportado pa rin natin ang PNP (There is still support for the PNP,” she said. “Sapat ang kanilang operational requirements in case ibalik sa kanila or magtulungan (There is enough for their operation requirements in case they get back the leadership in or assist the) PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency) sa war on drugs.”
Duterte decided to transfer the anti-drug war operations to the PDEA following strong criticisms against the police over drug-related killings, particularly in several cases involving teenagers.
But in a separate interview, Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said they would still return the P900-million Double Barrel budget to the PNP.
“Na-realigned, pero ibabalik din kasi conscious kami sa sinasabi ng Presidente: ‘Ibalik ninyo yung drug war sa PNP.’ So ibabalik din (It was realigned but it would revert to the PNP because we are conscious about what the President said: ‘Return the drug war to the PNP’),” Pimentel said.