Enrile returns to Senate after dengue bout, gives warning to non-performing agencies

-- Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile questions Sen. Sonny Angara during a session on tax issues at the Senate on Tuesday. Enrile returned to work Monday, after posting P1.45-million bail for plunder and graft charges filed against him. (MNS photo)

— Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile questions Sen. Sonny Angara during a session on tax issues at the Senate on Tuesday. Enrile returned to work Monday, after posting P1.45-million bail for plunder and graft charges filed against him. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – After suffering  from dengue, Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile returned to the Senate  on  Monday with  a stern warning to “mercilessly” cut the  budget  of  non-performing agencies.

Enrile issued this warning  during the hearing  of the Senate  finance subcommittee on seven agencies, including the Philippine  Drug Enforcement  Agency  (PDEA),  the first  agency that he scrutinized over its anti-drug campaign.

Responding to the senator’s  query,  PDEA Director General Arturo Cacdac Jr.  told the   committee that  the  volume of drug  seizures  went  up  since he assumed office in October 2012 from   110 kilos  to 824 kilos  in 2013, 718 kilos in  2014,  and close to 500 kilos as of  latest record this   year.

Apparently not satisfied by Cacdac’s  answer, Enrile asked the PDEA chief  if  his estimate of the drug problem  in the country was either under control or beyond  control.

“Come on, you’re not  in the Philippines  if that’s what you think. It’s all over the country, everybody talks about it…” said the Minority Leader, noting that the  drug problem exists, despite  the presence of various  anti-drug  centers of the government such as barangay anti-drug centers, and municipal or provincial ant-drug centers.

“All of these   are instruments controlling these menace but people, especially the youth,  are being destroyed by this problem. How can you justify the budget coming from  the taxpayers or the people to spend  for you if you can’t control this kind of law problem?”

“You know, I’m telling  you gentlemen ha, I’m  going out of politics at wala akong sisinuhin dito. If you do not perform, we’ll cut your budget mercilessly.  You better perform better…” Enrile added.

And  when  Cacdac  attempted to present to the committee the national anti-drug  plan of action that was approved by  the President for 2015 to 2016,   the senator interrupted  him and  said: “Even if it’s approved by the President, if you don’t perform, that’s meaningless to me. The President can’t function without the under links…”

Enrile also reminded other  officials and representatives present in the hearing “to  justify the  money of the  people for yourselves, for your agencies.”

His attendance in the hearing was his first  appearance in the Senate after he  was  rushed to  the  hospital last month due to dengue.

The senator  had been in hospital arrest until the Supreme Court granted him temporary  liberty on plunder charges in connection with the  pork barrel scam. (MNS)

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