Lawmakers question 4,400 per cent increase in anti-drug budget

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Lawmakers question 4,400 per cent increase in anti-drug budget
Senators and Congressmen are questioning the huge increase in the anti-narcotics budget (File photo)

Lawmakers have asked today (Thursday, August 31) for an explanation for proposals to increase the police’s anti-drug budget by 4,400 per cent.

The plan for a huge budget increase comes amid heightened public outrage over the recent shooting of 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos.

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havDespite police claims that the teenager shot at them first, CCTV footage, witness statements and autopsy reports suggest they gunned him down in cold blood. During a meeting at the Malacañang this week, the president has promised the family justice for their son.

The interior ministry’s proposal is to grant police a 900 million peso budget for anti-drug operations next year.

Speaking to Reuters, Congressman Carlos Zarate said: “This is over 4,000 percent increase from only 20 million pesos this year.

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“How many more deaths are we expecting here?” he asked. “How many more Kian delos Santoses will die?”

Call for clarification

Anti-drug sting operations have claimed the lives of more than 3,500 people since June 30 last year. Police say that drugs played in role in some 2,100 homicides during the same time period.

Human rights campaigners have accused the police of executing suspects. However, police maintain they only shoot people who violently resist arrest.

Senator Ralph Recto is urging closer scrutiny of the proposed anti-drug budget, which is due to be discussed next week.

He said: “Before such a campaign is reloaded with funds, questions as to how it will be implemented must first be asked.”

Senator Recto also said the police were requesting a 20 billion peso increase in their overall budget for 2018. It will rise from 111.8 billion pesos to 131.5 billion pesos.

“What is the increase for, what are the targets? That should be clarified,” he said, adding that extra funds should go to the internal affairs division to discipline rogue police.

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