Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (Photo by JOAN BONDOC / Philippine Daily Inquirer)
Removing the budget of the Philippine National Police (PNP) for antidrug operations could have an adverse effect to the President’s plan to bring the police back into the campaign, according to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.
The Senate had slashed P1.4 billion from the PNP’s budget intended for its Oplan Double Barrel and Masa Masid antidrug programs and realigned the amounts to housing for the police.
Noting that the Senate’s budget bill was not yet final and would go through the bicameral conference committee, Roque said he was sure the PNP would be asked for its input on this move.
But he said that if the budget cut stayed, this would set back the PNP when it returned to the lead in the war on drugs.
President Duterte had said he would bring back the PNP into the campaign if the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) failed to curb the drug trade.
“Well, obviously, the President needs to fund his pet undertakings and the drug war is one of such undertakings and it will have, of course, adverse effects if he does not have the funding to implement this war on drugs,” Roque told reporters in a phone interview.
The Senate slashed the PNP’s budget for antidrug operations after Mr. Duterte turned over the responsibility for the campaign to the PDEA amid public outcry over the killings of drug suspects in gangland-style executions either by police or vigilantes.