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)