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Senate eyes realignment of PNP P900-M drug war budget

The Senate will likely realign the P900-million allocation of the Philippine National Police (PNP) for its campaign against illegal drugs, after the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has been tasked to lead the drug war.

Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said they will review if PDEA needs an additional budgetary allocation for 2018 to fulfill President Rodrigo Duterte’s order.

“Kailangan ba ng PDEA ng additional dahil sa kanilang designation? Pero huwag naman buo,” Pimentel told radio dzBB in an interview.

The Senate finance committee has already added a P1.2-billion budget for PDEA next year. This gives the agency a budget of P2.59 billion.

Under the 2018 budget proposal, the PNP is getting P900 million to implement its Oplan Double Barrel, Reloaded. Duterte, however, has recently signed an order tasking the PDEA as the sole agency to implement the war on drugs.

“Kung meron namang sobra, priority natin housing tsaka social services,” Pimentel said.

Senator JV Ejercito, sponsor of the 2018 budget for the PNP and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), said he would rather see the P900-million budget for the PNP’s capability enhancement.

Ejercito said the budget can be used to purchase more choppers or to “further improve anti-crime operations and anti-terrorism units” of the PNP.

Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, for his part, said he will recommend the P900-million budget to be realigned to the PNP Internal Affairs Service.

“They need it badly to be able to strengthen their investigation processes against the PNP personnel, ni wala silang mga sasakyan,” Sotto said in a text message.

Senator Risa Hontiveros, meanwhile, said the Oplan Double Barrel, Reloaded can be used to augment funds for the rank-and-file police personnel.

The Senate will resume its budget deliberations on the DILG and PNP when it returns from legislative break in November. — RSJ, GMA News