Press Release
April 23, 2021

Drilon wants full accounting of anti-insurgency funds
The senate minority leader says that 2021 GAA provides authority to use anti-red funds for COVID-19 vaccination and ayuda

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon asked the Senate leadership to compel the controversial National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) to submit a report on the use of P19 billion anti-insurgency funds, saying that the funds could be use "in aid of 2022 election."

"Under the present General Appropriations Act, the NTF-ELCAC is supposed to submit a quarterly report to the Senate and the House of Representatives on the utilization of the funds. I will request the Senate leadership to require NTC-ELCAC to submit a quarterly report," Drilon said in an interview with cable news channel One News.

"These are not small funds. Magagamit sa pulitika iyan," said Drilon.

The 2021 GAA provides that "the implementing agencies and NTF-ELCAC shall submit to the Office of the President, DBM, House of Representatives and the Senate, either in printed form or by way of electronic document, quarterly reports on the utilization of funds and physical accomplishments."

Drilon said that while Congress cannot actually defund NTF-ELCAC this year, their budget can be realigned to beef up the country's depleting COVID-19 pandemic response budget.

According to Drilon, the President does not need to go to Congress to seek authority to realign the anti-insurgency funds to pandemic response as there is a valid authorization provided in the 2021 GAA for the use of anti-insurgency funds to COVID-19 response and financial assistance to indigents.

"Insofar as the funding is concerned, the defunding cannot happen now. It can be defunded when we craft the 2022 budget. However, the President has the full authority to realign the funds. In fact, the present GAA includes as among the projects that fund would be COVID-19 vaccination," Drilon said.

"There is authority under the law to use these funds for vaccinations and for indigent individuals. If the President is minded to, he has the full authority under the law to realign these funds from 822 so-called cleared barangays to the much needed and urgent ayuda to residents affected in the NCR Plus areas," he stressed.

Under the P4.5-trillion 2021 national budget, over P19 NTF-ELCAC and of which, P16.4 billion will go to its Barangay Development Program, where around 822 so-called barangays cleared of insurgency will receive P20 million each.

Meanwhile, Drilon told the controversial and foul-mouthed spokesperson of NTF-ELCAC, Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., to resign from the task force amid constitutional questions that hang over his appointment.

"A first-year law student will tell you a cardinal rule in the constitution that those who are in the active military service are prohibited from occupying civilian positions. That violates the Constitution. He is illegally occupying his position as the task force's spokesperson. It is one of my disappointments. Hindi na pinapakinggan ang Senado," Drilon said.

"Given the fact that his holding of his position is constitutionally doubtful, why doesn't he step down to save everybody from agony?" he said.

Drilon also called "disrespectful" Parlade's remarks after a number of senators called for the defunding of NTF-ELCAC amid the relentless red-tagging by its officials. Parlade was reported to have said that the Senate is "stupid" if they defund the task force.

"I was objecting to this (NTF-ELCAC budget) from day one. It's on record. I have been objecting to it. It's really disrespectful to say the least if Parlade said that we are stupid for passing this. In the Senate, I questioned this. I placed safeguards. It was accepted in the Senate. In the bicam, however, I am sure Malacanang lobbied that it came out the way it was written today," he said.

News Latest News Feed