House Appropriations Committee Chairman, Davao City 1st district Rep. Karlo Nograles expects heated debate among his colleagues once the proposed P170.7 billion budget of the Department of Interior and Local Government for 2018 reaches the plenary.
Nograles, in a radio interview, said this is due to the current controversies surrounding the Philippine National Police (PNP), which is under the DILG. In particular, this has to do with the recent spate of killings of drug suspects in police operations.
Among those slain the past few days was Kian Loyd de los Santos, a Grade 11 student in Caloocan City. The student’s kin has denied his involvement in the illegal drug trade.
A huge portion of the Department’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 these alleged abuses.
“Ine-expect ko pagdating sa plenaryo, it might come out as an issue. Pag-uusapan naman natin don itong mga panawagan na bawasan ang pondo ng PNP. So ayokong pangunahan kung ano ang pag-uusapan namin sa plenary,” Nograles said in the interview.
It should be noted that the Appropriations panel concluded its deliberation on the DILG budget Thursday, a day after De los Santos was killed.
“Syempre ang magiging defense ng PNP is kung itong ginagawa natin, we should punish those responsible for ..sa nangyari kay Kian and all the other…kung meron man…victims ng accidental shooting or itong pang-aabuso,” Nograles said.
“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,” Nograles further said.
Incidentally, the National Police Commission’s (Napolcom) performance as the independent investigator of cases involving alleged police abuses was also tackled during the panel hearing. The Napolcom is an attached agency of the DILG.
Napolcom Chairman Rogelio Casurao even appealed for help from the congressmen to streamline the disciplinary system for cops in order to make them more effective.
For his part, 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 antin i-pursige yong anti-drugs campaign ni Presidente, the worst thing that can happen is syempre lumaganap na naman ang iligal na droga sa bansa,” Nograles said.
“But that’s not to say we do not give justice to the victims ng abuses ng ating mga kapulisan. 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,” Nograles added.