After AFP’s blooper, Hontiveros asks: Is military not using its intel fund properly?

By: Christia Marie Ramos - Reporter / @CMRamosINQ - Inquirer.net | January 25,2021 - 02:40 PM

Sen. Risa Hontiveros. (Screen grab/Senate PRIB, File)

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros on Monday questioned how the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) utilizes its intelligence fund in light of its recent mistake involving an inaccurate list of University of the Philippines (UP) alumni who were allegedly recruited by the New People’s Army (NPA).

“Ang laki ng intelligence fund, hindi ba nila ginagamit ng mas maayos na hindi magkaroon ng ganitong palpak na intelligence na mismong ang national defense chief ay kailangang magsabi na hindi kapatapatawad na kapalpakan ito?” Hontiveros said in an online press conference with reporters.

(They have a big intelligence fund, are they not using this properly to the extent that they have this kind of gaffe that even the national defense chief called it unforgivable?)

“They should prove that they are putting their intelligence budget to better use at ‘wag gamitin ang buwis na galing sa mamamayan para pagperwisyuhan ang mamamayan din,” she added.

(They should prove that they are putting their intelligence budget to better use and not use taxpayers’ money to endanger the public.)

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana called as “an unpardonable gaffe” the list released by the AFP J7 or Civil-Military Operations Office, which included the names of UP alumni who allegedly joined the NPA.

Individuals and groups identified in the AFP’s list have already denounced their inclusion.

The AFP J7 has since apologized for the inconsistencies of the list it released online.

“Hindi ko alam kung palpak—ibig sabihin incompetent—o sinadya, ibig sabihin malisyoso, o pareho, at alin sa dalawa ang mas masama?” Hontiveros said.

(I don’t know if it’s an example of failure—meaning they’re incompetent—or was it on purpose—or they did it with malice—or both, and between the two, what is worse?)

‘Cease-and-desist’ from Red-tagging

While the senator acknowledged the apology from the military, she said this reflected a much bigger concern of Red-tagging.

“Dapat talaga mag-cease and desist na ‘yung ating sandatahang lakas, pati ‘yung pambansang kapulisan, sa ganitong Red-tagging,” she said.

(The armed forces and the national police should cease and desist from engaging in this type of Red-tagging.)

“Hindi lang dahil napapahiya sila pero dahil napapahamak ang mga sibilyan, ang mga mamamayan,” Hontiveros added.

(Not only because it’s embarrassing for them, but also because they are endangering the lives of civilians, the public.)

KGA

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TAGS: AFP blooper, Hontiveros, intelligence fund, military

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