Dela Rosa questions PNP over ₱1 billion unspent funds

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(FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 26) — Senate Public Order Committee chairman Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa questioned the Philippine National Police on the 2019 Commission on Audit Report saying the agency has ₱1 billion worth of undelivered equipment.

The senator asked the question during a Senate hearing on PNP modernization on Tuesday.

Dela Rosa said based on the report, the PNP transferred ₱1.347 billion to the Philippine International Trading Corporation for the purchase of crime fighting equipment such as utility trucks and grenade launchers.

However, the report said as of 2019, only ₱311 million worth of equipment has been delivered to the PNP.

Because of reports like this, Dela Rosa said it is becoming difficult to justify to his fellow lawmakers why the PNP should receive additional funds.

"Tinitignan palagi ng Congress, iyan palagi ang ibubutas sa inyo ng Congress bakit iyong pera na binigay namin sa inyo 'di niyo pa napambili? Ngayon hingi na naman kayo ng pera na napakalaki sa modernization," Dela Rosa said.

[Translation: Congress is always looking at it, that is always the issue, why haven't you used the money we gave you? Now you are asking for more money for modernization.]

The PNP explained the agency asked the PITC to handle the procurement of crime fighting equipment for them so they can avoid possible legal problems.

"That time sir, iniiwasan ng PNP na magkakaso. So nagpile up, nag-accummulate. For today, and even during your time, talagang tayo na nagpo-procure... And the rate of our obligation and utilization has greatly improved," PNP Crime Laboratory Director BGen Steve Ludan explained.

[Translation: That time, sir, the PNP was avoiding getting a case. So it piled up, it accumulated. For today, and even during your time, we are the ones who procure.]

"As much as possible, 'wag na mag-resort sa PITC kasi may charges pa na kinukuha doon, ayaw natin mangyari iyon," Ludan added.

[Translation: As much as possible, we don't want to resort to the PITC because there are still charges there, we don't want that to happen,]

Dela Rosa also recalled his own experience with the PITC when he was still PNP Chief.

"PITC was pushing for ganito ganoong procurement. Alam mo, sabi ko, alam mo sir kahit na dalawang araw tayo magdiscussion dito, hinding-hindi ako magi-give in sa insinuation niyo dahil sabi ni President (Rodrigo) Duterte dapat ang ipo-procure natin ay kung ano iyong maganda, kapaki-pakinabang sa PNP, at hindi malulugi ang gobyerno kaya I had to stick with this kind of item na dapat makuha namin," Dela Rosa said.

[Translation: PITC was pushing for procurements. I said even if we talk here for two days, I will never give in to your insinuation, because President Duterte said we should only get what is good and useful to the PNP, and will not put the government at a disadvantage so I had to stick with this kind of item.]

"Dapat kayo ganoon din, wag kayo mag-surrender sa kanila kagad. You fight for your funds. Gamitin ninyo. Ang problema lang sa inyo pag mabagal kayo, aabutan na kayo ng siyam-siyam. Para 'di maabutan ang pondo ibalik sa national treasury, pinapasa nyo sa PITC," he argued.

[Translation: You should do the same, do not give in immediately. You fight for your funds. Use it. The only problem is when you are slow, it will take forever. So the money will not go to the national treasury, you will pass it on to the PITC.]

The senator then told policemen to assign brave but not corrupt officials in the PNP's Bids and Awards Committee.

"Dapat number one, i-consider ninyo ang ilagay nyo na members ng BAC mga opisyal na aside matino, ayaw gumawa ng corruption, may b***g na tumatayo na tama ang ginagawa nila para mabilis iyong... hindi iyong papasa nyo lang sa PITC kasi takot kayo magkakaso. That's very wrong. Very wrong 'yan," Dela Rosa said.

[Translation: Number one, you should consider the BAC members are officials who do not want to get involved in corruption, do the right thing... not just rely on the PITC because you are afraid of getting cases. That is very wrong.]

Meanwhile, the PNP said the body cameras it procured for use during police operations are now ready to be delivered.

Police Deputy Director for Logistics BGen Herminio Tadeo Jr. said they will update Dela Rosa once the body camera arrives.

For Dela Rosa, there is a need to expedite the delivery because it has already taken a long time.

"Panahon ko pa iyon (na Chief PNP). Naka-limang Chief PNP na hindi pa rin nadeliver. Please follow up. Gusto ko makakita ng legitimate anti-drug operationg ng PNP na may suot na body-worn camera because that is a big clamor by the public," Dela Rosa said.

[Translation: That was still during my time. There have been five Chief PNPs and it's still not delivered. I want to see a legitimate PNP anti-drug operation where they use the body-worn camera because that is a big clamor by the public.]