Sen. Bam backs transfer of P900M Tokhang budget to PDEA

​​Senator Bam Aquino expressed support behind the move to strip the Philippine National Police (PNP) of the P900-million Oplan Tokhang budget and realign it to Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) as the lead agency in the war against illegal drugs.

​​“The budget allotted for the PNP’s Oplan Tokhang must be stripped and realigned to the new lead agency of the fight against illegal drugs,” said Sen. Bam, vice chairman of the Committee on Finance.

 “Sinusuportahan natin ang plano ng Senado na ilagay ang nasabing pondo sa PDEA​. Kailangan rin suriin muli ang kabuuang budget ng PNP na tumaas ng P20 bilyon, mula P111 bilyon noong 2017 patungong P131 bilyon para sa 2018,” added Sen. Bam.

 ​​If realigned, Sen. Bam wants the PDEA to utilize the additional budget for training of its personnel and rehabilitation of drug users and not as ​a quota or ​bounty bonus.

 ​​“A lot of pressure is on PDEA to do this right and without the backlash of the killings and collateral damage,” said Sen. Bam.

​ ​Recently, Sen. Bam worked for the passage of the 2018 budget of several government agencies, including the Department of Education and Department of Science and Technology, as sponsor.

Sen. Bam: Drop in ratings ‘wake-up call’ for Duterte, PNP to stop killings

The drop in President Duterte’s approval and trust ratings should serve as wake-up call for the Philippine National Police (PNP) to rethink its strategy for the drug war and address the killings in our communities, according to Sen. Bam Aquino.

“Magsilbi na sana itong wake-up call sa PNP na repormahin ang giyera kontra ilegal na droga upang matigil na ang patayan sa ating mga komunidad,” said Sen. Bam.

According to the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey conducted from September 23 to 27 via face-to-face interviews with 1,500 adult respondents, President Duterte’s net satisfaction rating dropped 18 percent from a “very good” 66 percent in June to a “good” 48 percent.

The survey also showed that President Duterte’s trust rating suffered a 15-percent dip from an “excellent” +75 in June to a “very good” + 60.

While the SWS did not give any explanation for the drop, Sen. Bam believes that investigations that looked into the killings, especially of teenagers Kian delos Santos, Carl Arnaiz and Reynaldo de Guzman, affected the Chief Executive’s survey ratings.

“Marami nang Pilipino ang natatakot na maging collateral damage ng drug war,” said Sen. Bam, referring to the June 23 to 26, 2017 SWS survey where seven of 10 Filipinos expressed fear that they themselves or someone they know will become a victim of an extrajudicial killing (EJK).

“The President should not take this for granted. Panahon na upang makinig ang Malacanang sa pangamba ng taumbayan ukol sa patayan sa ating mga komunidad,” said Sen. Bam.

In a previous interview, Sen. Bam said the minority senators will move for the slashing of the P900-million Tokhang budget during the amendment period for the 2018 national budget.

“Mas mainam na pondohan ang mga mas epektibong solusyon sa droga tulad ng community rehabilitation programs, education programs sa mga eskuwelahan at mga anti-poverty programs sa komunidad,” said Sen. Bam

“Bakit natin popondohan ang isang programa na nagdudulot ng pang-aabuso na nangyayari,” Sen. Bam added.

Sen. Bam urges Church to provide witnesses, policemen with stories about drug war

Sen. Bam Aquino called on the Catholic Church to encourage their witnesses to share direct information about the involvement of policemen in extra-judicial killings (EJKs) in connection with the government’s drug war.

During the hearing of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs on the deaths of Kian delos Santos, Carl Arnaiz and Reynaldo de Guzman, Fr. Robert Reyes and Fr. Bong Sarabia revealed that they were approached by families of young victims with knowledge of involvement of policemen in EJK.

According to the priests, they were also approached by policemen who have first-hand knowledge about EJKs. However, the priests said these witnesses have refused to reveal what they know because of fear for their lives and reprisal from people who might be affected by their disclosure.

“Ang pinakamainam na paraan ay mailantad ang mga kuwentong ito. With the help of the committee, puwede naman silang kunan ng salaysay and there are ways na hindi malalaman ang kanilang pagkakakilanlan. “Mas maganda kung makuha natin ang kanilang salaysay upang maimbestigahan nang maayos,” said Sen. Bam.

“Let’s cooperate and find a way na mailabas ang mga kuwentong ito para sabay-sabay nating bantayan na magkaroon ng hustisya ang mga namatayan,” added Sen. Bam, who also commended the Catholic Church for providing sanctuary for witnesses with knowledge about the EJKs in the country.

Sen. Bam also called on the Philippine National Police (PNP) to involve different sectors of society, including the Catholic Church, to ensure that no rights are violated in their anti-drug operations.

“It will be better if the PNP will cooperate and involve different sectors of society, especially the Catholic Church to join its anti-drug operations to guarantee that the rights of suspects are respected,” said Sen. Bam.

“Hopefully, we can come to a situation where the PNP will be more transparent with groups and sectors that have raised serious concerns with the war on drugs. Nanawagan na rin ang simbahan na itigil na ang extra-judicial killings sa ating bansa,” added Sen. Bam.

Sen. Bam seeks probe on PNP illegal searches across Ateneo campus

A senator wants to investigate the reported illegal searches in various establishments in Katipunan, Quezon City, and other police operations that are impeding the rights and welfare of citizens.

 Sen. Bam Aquino filed Senate Resolution No. 503 after reports surfaced that police officers conducted surprise inspections of bars along Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City, on September 13 and randomly inspected the bags of the customers inside the establishments without search warrants.

 “The unannounced inspection of establishment and bag searches by police in Katipunan last September 13 is a clear violation of Article III of the 1987 Constitution that protects citizens from warrantless and unreasonable searches of property,” said Sen. Bam.

“Pagkatapos ihayag ng Ateneo Blue Babble Battalion ang kanilang paninindigan kontra sa EJKs noong half time ng UAAP basketball game, biglang nagkaroon ng mga search sa tapat ng Ateneo Campus. Pananakot at intimidasyon ba ang kanilang motibo?” asked the Senator.

Contrary to claim of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD), the lawmaker stressed that owners of the inspected establishments said there was no prior coordination between them and the police.  Also, the restaurant owners in Katipunan said they don’t have an association that would give the police permission to conduct the operation.

 Before this incident, the QCPD was also reported to be conducting house-to-house visits and roving drug testing in urban poor communities.

 “While police claimed that citizen participation is voluntary, they may feel forced to comply out of fear for their own protection and safety,” said Sen. Bam.

Sen. Bam said the resolution aims to assess the current campaigns, strategies and practices of the Philippine National Police (PNP) as part of its campaign against illegal drugs.

 “We must ensure that these moves won’t lead to the weakening of the rule of law and promote a culture of impunity and abuse among law enforcers,” said Sen. Bam, adding that the rights and welfare of our citizens, especially the youth that the State, must be protected at all times.

Bam on PNP: May tinatago ba sila?

May tinatago ba sila?

Sen. Bam Aquino raised this question regarding the Philippine National Police (PNP) as he called on the organization to be transparent about its operations by showing spot reports to the Senate and to reporters.

  “Last hearing, Gen. Ronald Dela Rosa agreed that the PNP has nothing to hide kaya nagtataka tayo kung bakit ayaw ibigay ng ilang tauhan niya ang spot reports sa media,” said Sen. Bam.

Sen. Bam was referring to reports that members of media were not given access to spot reports, citing a new directive from Camp Crame.

“Kung wala silang tinatago, dapat nilang ipakita ang mga ito sa media,” said Sen. Bam, adding that journalists are responsible enough to handle confidential information contained in the spot reports.

In addition, Sen. Bam said the PNP’s directive to withhold spot reports from the media contradicts President Duterte’s push for transparency through the Freedom of Information (FOI) in government.

 Also, Sen. Bam expects Gen. Dela Rosa to comply with his earlier commitment that he will give senators a copy of the PNP’s spot reports, especially on cases of alleged extrajudicial killings and deaths outside police operations.

 “Itong spot reports, nagpapatunay kung meron talagang kababalaghan na nangyayari o wala kaya mahalaga na makuha namin iyan sa aming imbestigasyon. We still expect that the PNP will submit them to the Senate as promised,” Sen. Bam emphasized.

Earlier, Sen. Bam called on the government to suspend Oplan Double Barrel and rethink this bloody drug war, which has claimed thousands of lives since its implementation last year.

Sen. Bam: Give clear directive not to kill minors and unarmed suspects

Sen. Bam Aquino called on Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Ronald Dela Rosa to issue a clear and unequivocal directive to the police force not to kill unarmed suspects and to end the indiscriminate killing of minors. 

“A clear, definitive directive from the top na nagsasabing mali pumatay ng suspects na hindi nanlalaban, mahalaga iyon sa kapulisan,” said Sen. Bam after the hearing of the Committee on Public Order on the killing of Kian Delos Santos, who was killed during an anti-drug operation in Caloocan City.

 Police claimed that Kian fired at the policemen, forcing them to fight back. However, CCTV footage from the barangay showed that two policemen were seen dragging Kian to the alley where he was killed.

Another teenager, Carl Angelo Arnaiz, was killed by Caloocan City policemen after he allegedly robbed a taxi driver. However, forensic examinations showed that Arnaiz was handcuffed and was on his knees when he was shot two to three times in the chest.

By punishing policemen involved in the killing of Delos Santos and Arnaiz, Sen. Bam said it will send a strong signal that their unlawful acts will not be tolerated.

 “Kailangan bantayan ang mga kasong ito. The resolution of these two cases should send a clear signal to the rest of the police force that these unlawful acts will not be supported by the Senate or by the police hierarchy,” Sen. Bam stressed.

 “Maraming nakabantay sa mga kasong ito. Nakabantay talaga tayo kung magpapatuloy pa ang mga operations na ganito, kung may mamamatay pa ba. Gusto nating matigil na ang patayan,” added Sen Bam.

During the hearing, Sen. Bam asked Gen. Dela Rosa if there’s a pattern of killing in the PNP with the recent deaths of Delos Santos and Arnaiz.

 The top PNP official vehemently denied the existence of a pattern, saying the police have arrested 120,000 drug suspects alive.

  “The Senate is supportive of the war on drugs and arresting 120,000 criminals involved in drugs is appreciated, but killing of unarmed suspects is still a problem,” said Sen. Bam, adding that a clear directive from the top is a start.

Bam to DepEd: No to student drug list!

Sen. Bam Aquino wants the Department of Education (DepEd) to ensure that the Philippine National Police (PNP) will not get hold of the results of the random drug testing of students in private and public schools so as to avoid abuses and deaths of students.
“The DepEd, as the lead agency in the random drug testing of students, must fulfill its promise to keep confidential its results. Hindi nila dapat hayaang mapunta ito sa kamay ng PNP upang hindi magamit laban sa ating mga kabataan,” said Sen. Bam.
“Kung makukuha ng PNP ang listahang ito, maaari itong maabuso ng mga tiwaling pulis at gamitin sa panggigipit. Ayaw nating magkaroon ng isa pang kaso na may mamamatay na estudyante sa ating bayan,” he added.
During the hearing for DepEd 2018 budget, Sec. Leonor Briones assured lawmakers that the results of the random drug testing will remain confidential and will not result in the filing of charges against minors who will be found positive for illegal drugs.
“Panghahawakan natin ang pangakong ito ng DepEd upang matiyak ang kaligtasan ng ating mga kabataan laban sa anumang pang-aabuso ng awtoridad,” said Sen. Bam.
During his time as chairman of the Committee on Education, Sen. Bam got the assurance from concerned government agencies, such as the DepEd, Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), that the random drug testing will not tread on rights of students but merely to determine the prevalence of illegal drugs in schools.
The DepEd and other government agencies also assured that they will extend help to students who will be tested positive through a rehabilitation program and peer counseling.
Aside from mandatory random drug testing, the DDB has institutionalized the “Barkada Kontra Droga” program to help keep the youth away from illegal drugs.

Sen. Bam: Senate to assert independence, united against PNP drug killings

Sen. Bam Aquino welcomed the resolution filed by the Senate majority condemning the killing of 17-year-old Grade 11 student Kian Delos Santos and calling for an investigation into the bloody drug war.

The senator called this an opportunity for the Senate to assert independence, uphold justice and stand with the Filipino.

“Marami na sa ating mga kababayan ang malungkot, galit, at nananawagan na tapusin na ang patayan, kung saan ang mga mahihirap na Pilipino ang laging nabibiktima,” stressed Sen. Bam.

 Sen. Bam also filed a resolution seeking to investigate the series of drug raids conducted by police in different parts of Metro Manila and Bulacan that resulted in the death of at least 80 people, including Kian.

“We expect that our filed resolutions will be consolidated so we can get to the bottom of these extrajudicial killings together and reassess the government’s strategy in addressing the drug problem,” said Sen. Bam.

 The senator emphasized that the resolution is aimed at ending police abuse and protecting citizens, especially the helpless and the poor.

 “There is a need not only attain justice for Kian and other victims of abuse by the State in the hands of our law enforcers and authorities,” said Sen. Bam.

In addition, Sen. Bam called on the government to reassess and change the strategy of the administration’s drug war, which targets only the poor and the helpless, while influential personalities are given due process, especially those involved in the P6.4 billion illegal drugs that slipped past the Bureau of Customs last May.

“The government’s all-out war against illegal drugs has failed to address the root causes of the drug menace in the country,” said Sen. Bam, who recently visited the wake of Kian in Caloocan City.

 According to Sen. Bam, there have been thousands of deaths under investigation, including 3,116 killed in police operations and 31 children, since the Duterte government assumed office last July 1, 2016.

Last August 16, 2017, Kian, a Grade 11 student, was among the 12 people killed in simultaneous anti-drug operations in Caloocan City. He was found dead in the site of the encounter, lying face down in fetal position, with three gunshot wounds, one to his back and two to his head.

 Police claimed that Kian fired at them with a 45-caliber pistol but several witnesses attested that the Grade 11 did not have a gun and did not resist arrest. CCTV footage also showed men in civilian attire dragging a young man believed to be Kian before he was shot in a dark alley.

Sen. Bam on the reinstatement of Supt. Marvin Marcos and cops involved in Espinosa slay

The reinstatement of murderous cops is a danger to the Filipino people.

Ito’y malinaw na pagbalewala sa mga umiiral na batas at nagpapalakas pa sa kultura ng karahasan.

Itigil na ang pagkakanlong sa mga kriminal sa hanay ng kapulisan at hayaang umiral ang katarungan.

 Kailangan managot ang mga gumagawa ng krimen – kahit pulis, kahit makapangyarihan, at kahit kaibigan ng pinaka-makapangyarihan.

Sen. Bam to PNP: Stop sending delinquent cops to Mindanao

A senator seconded the Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana’s appeal, urging the Philippine National Police (PNP) to rethink its policy of deploying erring policemen to Mindanao, saying the move will reduce public trust in the police further.

“Filipinos deserve an upstanding police force. Delinquent cops should be fired, not just reassigned and sent to Mindanao,” said Sen. Bam Aquino.

“Napakahalaga na may tiwala ang tao sa pulis, lalong lalo na sa Mindanao kung saan may Martial Law at banta ng terorismo. We should send our best and brightest, not those who abuse their power,” added Sen. Bam.

 Sen. Bam made the statement after the PNP shipped to Marawi two Mandaluyong policemen who were caught in video hitting using a “yantok” nightstick the two men they arrested for drinking on the sidewalk.

“Ang mga pulis na nang-aagrabyado ng taumbayan at gumagawa ng katiwalian ay dapat managot at matanggal sa puwesto. Marami sa mga pulis na nagtatrabaho nang maayos ang nadadamay sa kanilang ginagawang kapalpakan,” stressed Sen. Bam.

 In the 17th Congress, Sen. Bam filed a bill that aims to strengthen the Internal Affairs Service (IAS) of the PNP to instill better discipline and performance among policemen.

 “The PNP must clamp down on crime and corruption while fully abiding by the law and respecting basic human rights,” Sen. Bam said in Senate Bill No. 1285 or the PNP Internal Affairs Service Modernization Act.

The bill was endorsed by the IAS and was subsequently filed by Sen. Aquino to help the PNP’s efforts to get rid of bad eggs in the organization.

 The measure seeks to strengthen the IAS with provisions for autonomy and independence in its administration and operations and empowering it to instill discipline and enhance the performance of personnel and units of the PNP at all levels of its command.

 “The bill expands the motu-propio investigation powers of the IAS to cover all acts and omissions by PNP officers which might discredit them or hinder them from rendering their services effectively,” said Sen. Bam.

 In addition, the measure mandates the prioritization of IAS functions, which promote character building, and carry out inspections, audits, intelligence operations and rehabilitation among officers.

 By increasing the authority and mandate of the IAS within every branch of the PNP, Sen. Bam hopes the police will better protect the public and honor their duties.

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