MANILA - Senators are asking the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) to explain why it should not cited for contempt for submitting a fake report saying China has built an underground military base in Zambales.
Senator Richard Gordon, chair of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee, said NICA Director General Rodolfo Arsaga Jr. tagged a satirical report titled "Hidden Chinese Military Base with Alleged Missile Silos Found in Zambales" as a confidential document and submitted it to the panel.
"The chair orders the committee secretary to send a missive [to NICA] why they should not be cited for contempt for sending an incompetent individual to represent NICA," he said during an Oct. 17 committee hearing on the destructive mining operations and illegal excavations in Zambales.
Arsaga submitted the report during a previous hearing but did not appear at the next inquiry.
The satirical report, posted July 25 by "Intel Guru," included a note in the bottom saying it is "partly for satirical and entertainment purposes and the events should not be construed as pure facts although the mentioned tangible objects exist."
"It's atrocious. It's amazing. I mean if that is the state of intelligence we have in the country, then we really are in trouble," said Gordon.
"I am not seriously considering examining the intelligence system in the country," he added.
Senate Majority Floor Leader Senator Tito Sotto III also said they should review the budget of the agency. The Senate has yet to approve the 2017 budget proposal of the Duterte administration.
"If you come with a report...citing an internet post and covering it with a confidential cover sheet, aba ibang klase ang NICA [NICA is really something else]," he said.
Gordon's office told news.abs-cbn.com that NICA has been asked to explain itself in the next hearing scheduled for November 23.
"The Senate blue ribbon committee is not gonna get fooled, that's why we're gonna bring him [Arsaga] back here and ask him why he should not be cited for contempt," said Gordon.
news.abs-cbn.com is still trying to get NICA's comment as of posting time.
NICA was created in 1949 to coordinate the intelligence collection activities of various government agencies in the Philippines.