MANILA — The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday "categorically and vehemently" denied Sen. Panfilo Lacson's claim that anti-insurgency funds were being "misused" by a ranking police official.
"The Philippine National Police categorically and vehemently deny [sic] the allegation of Senator Panfilo Lacson that we have misused the NTF-ELCAC funds by using it to conduct census in the different barangays nationwide," PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said.
Lacson on Thursday said he received reports that a certain "general" was giving instructions to chiefs of police to ask "30 percent" of barangay residents to give them their names, contact numbers, and addresses for a "census."
"Yung kanila kasi P800 million ‘yung sa kanila and part of that [NTF-ELCAC fund], allegedly, is being used to give instruction to their chiefs of police na magkaroon ng parang census among residents ng barangay," the former national police chief told ANC's Headstart.
But Eleazar said the "PNP is not conducting" a census.
"We have no use for any census," he said.
The PNP chief added they welcome any probe into their utilization of the anti-insurgency fund, insisting everything was "above board."
"Everything that is being done by the PNP in relation to the NTF-ELCAC funds is above board, and we welcome any investigation that may be conducted."
"The PNP is not disheartened by such unfounded statements," he added.
The Commission on Audit had earlier flagged the PNP for its slow disbursement of funds meant to support anti-communist insurgency projects.
Eleazar said the "unused budget allotted for anti-communist insurgency programs are intact," but disbursement was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
— report from Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News