MANILA - Malacañang will look into the Philippine National Police (PNP)’s request for additional budget in securing alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles and other high-risk detainees.
The PNP has cut by more than half its expenses for the court appearances of Napoles from P120,000 to P50,000 per trip.
Chief Superintendent Reuben Theodore Sindac, chief of the PNP’s Public Information Office, said the amount covered the expenses for Napoles’ travel from Fort Sto. Domingo in Laguna to the Sandiganbayan in Quezon City.
The PNP said it also reduced the number of policemen assigned to escort her to the anti-graft court from the original 120 to around 50 to 70 escorts.
This is aside from the P150,000 monthly expenses for her food, guards, gas, electricity and other operational expenses at the detention facility.
“The PNP employs around 50 to 70 policemen tasked to escort her convoy,” Sindac said.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said they will look into the PNP’s request.
“At this point, it is important to say that the PNP will not skirt its responsibility in securing Napoles and other detainees,” Valte said over radio dzRB.
“That will be looked into by the PNP and the DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) as to where the budget can be sourced from,” she added.
Napoles has been detained at the Fort Sto. Domingo since last year.
Sindac said securing high-value detainees like Napoles and Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. was straining the PNP’s purse.
He said the PNP spends P40,000 for each court appearance of the three detained senators. Around P27,000 is spent on food of more than 100 police escorts.
2015 budget proposal
Meanwhile, President Aquino convened the Cabinet on Friday for a first-pass review and discussion of the proposed P2.606-trillion national budget for 2015.
The proposed budget was 15 percent higher than the 2014 general appropriations to increase allocation for social protection and services; job generation and economic expansion; and climate change adaptation and mitigation.
Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. of the Presidential Communications Operations Office said the President directed the Cabinet to further fine-tune the budget assumptions and planning parameters so that these could be fully explained and justified at the hearings to be conducted by Congress.
Another meeting may be convened before the proposed National Expenditure Program is approved.
The budget proposal will be submitted to Congress after the President’s State of the Nation Address on July 28, Coloma said.
As presented by Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Coloma said the conditional cash transfer funds will increase from P62.6 billion to P78 billion for 2015 due to increased coverage, from 4.3 million households to five million households.
The budget for the government’s National Health Insurance Program rose from P35.3 billion to P37.2 billion. The budget for education increased from P44.6 billion to P52.7 billion.
Coloma said the budget for national roads and bridges program of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) increased from P130.4 billion to P186.6 billion.