MANILA – Malacañang on Thursday said the anti-insurgency funds allotted to the Philippine National Police (PNP) are not being used for political purposes.
“Unang-una, hindi po ‘yan for politics, hindi po ‘yan for political purposes (First and foremost, [the funds] are not used for political purposes),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in an online presser after Senator Panfilo Lacson flagged the PNP’s “suspicious” use of funds for the “data-gathering” activities.
On Tuesday, Lacson called out the PNP for supposed illegal data-gathering activities being done in several villages.
Lacson, a former PNP chief, said the police force must not engage in partisan politics using public funds.
Roque said the PNP is just doing its activity to maintain peace and order in the country.
“Hindi po iyan gagamitin sa pulitika. Matagal na pong ginagawa iyan ng pulisya, maski po ’yung panahon ni Senator Lacson eh nagkaroon na po tayo ng active police cooperation (The funds will not be used for politics. The police force has been conducting such activity, even during the time of Senator Lacson, there was already active police cooperation),” he said.
Roque also echoed the recent statement of PNP chief, Gen. Guillermo Elazar, that obtaining information from civilian organizations is merely a “product of volunteerism” intended to strengthen the partnership between the police and community in the fight against criminality, illegal drugs, and terrorism.
He said the cooperation between the PNP and the community is vital to reduce crime incidence in the country.
“Importante po iyan dahil sa ngayon po talaga eh matindi ang laban natin hindi lang po laban sa mga terorista na nag-aaklas laban sa gobyerno kundi pati po doon sa mga drug interests (That is important, especially now that we are fighting the terrorists fighting the government, as well as the drug personalities),” Roque said.
Last week, Lacson named Directorate for Police-Community Relations chief, Maj. Gen. Rhodel Sermonia, as the official behind the PNP’s alleged census using the National Task Force Against Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) funds in different villages nationwide.
Lacson also said the census might be linked to next year’s elections.
The PNP has denied Lacson’s allegation, saying it is implementing an approach that deepens police-community relations programs by working with different communities nationwide, including non-government organizations and advocacy groups.
Eleazar, responding to Lacson, said the government and the PNP are just bent on helping Filipinos, including those who belong to long-neglected communities. (PNA)