By Mario Casayuran
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Thursday welcomed a move to shift a bulk of the P500 million intelligence fund of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for its anti-terrorism and anti-insurgency efforts.
Lorenzana issued the statement during a press briefing for Senate reporters after Sen. Antonio F. Trillanes IV, a former Navy officer, made a motion during a public hearing by the Senate finance sub-committee public that the AFP needs funds more for its intelligence projects.
Although it has a proposed P1.7 billion intelligence fund for 2018, Lorenzana said additional intelligence funds from the PNP budget as proposed by Trillanes is welcome.
“We will gladly receive it although they have not requested it,’’ he said.
Trillanes said he wanted to lop off a bulk of the proposed additional P500 million as intelligence fund for the PNP because it might be used for the controversial, bloody anti-illegal drugs campaign of the Duterte administration.
He described the P500 million PNP intelligence fund as ‘’misplaced’’ as the money is needed more by the AFP in its anti-terrorism campaign, particularly in Marawi.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson, sub-committee chairman, suggested to Trillanes to discuss his plan to realign the bulk of the PNP intelligence fund with Sen. Loren Legarda, who is the chairwoman of the Senate finance committee.
“After all, I’m not the one defending the budget of the DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government. Mine is the Department of National Defense. I have no objection (to the Trillanes motion),” he said.
“Even if approved (in the Senate) plenary session, we will still deal with it (at the Senate and House of Representatives). This was not re-aligned in the House version (of the budget bill) so that will be part of the disagreeing provisions (of the proposed 2018 P3.7 trillion national budget) to be discussed (by the two legislative panels),’’ he said.