MANILA — Lawmakers cannot “hostage” the 2021 budget of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) as leverage to force the resignation of one of its officials, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Friday.
The House appropriations committee this week suspended the agency’s budget deliberations after the Makabayan bloc accused PCOO Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy of falsely tagging several lawmakers as communist leaders.
Resignation is “always a personal decision and it is up to the person being asked to resign,” said Lacson.
“If the whole Congress will throw its support to congressman Zarate and the rest of the Makabayan bloc, then baka mayroon pang papuntahan. But if not, hanggang d’yan lang iyan,” he told ANC.
“We cannot sacrifice the whole budget for the retention or the resignation of a government official. Hindi naman puwedeng ma-hostage iyong buong budget,” he added.
(If the whole Congress will throw its support to congressman Zarate and the rest of the Makabayan bloc, it might lead to something. But if not, that’s all there is to it… The whole budget can’t be held hostage.)
The Makabayan is mulling charges against Badoy, who allegedly accused the bloc of guiding communists "to destroy the government and kill democracy."
Red-baiting or "terror-tagging" is a threat to the lives of Makabayan members, said ACT Partylist Rep. France Castro.
Badoy said she would not step down from PCOO.
"Makabayan Bloc Reps ought to give this redtag charge a rest. We can no longer count the number of times they've sued government for redtagging. They've done it in all administrations. And each time, our courts would throw it out for lack of merit," she said on Facebook.
The PCOO will ask Badoy to distinguish her personal opinion from her "professional life" as a government official, said Assistant Secretary Kris Ablan.