Lacson: Illegal ‘census’ by PNP must stop or I’ll drop NTF-Elcac


THE reported “census” activities in some barangays using funds of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac) should end immediately, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson asserted at the weekend, noting that such was disowned by the Philippine National Police (PNP) leadership.

Lacson scoffed in a radio interview on Sunday at the reasons given “clearing” as justification for the census taking of populations in certain areas, noting that  these sites were already classified by the military as “cleared” of insurgent activity, and therefore, qualified for the socioeconomic program funds under the NTF-Elcac.

Lacson said he cannot simply disregard such reports of census taking with people’s mobile numbers being listed down along with addresses since he is the principal sponsor of the NTF-Elcac’s budget in the Senate. Especially, he added, if the reports originate from the PNP’s own field commanders.

Lacson was chief of the PNP from 1999 to 2001.

“The PNP’s denial should put a stop to the illegal data-gathering activities on 30 percent of the country’s local population. As the Senate’s principal sponsor of the NTF-Elcac budget, I cannot simply disregard a pattern of such reports coming from their own field commanders,” Lacson said in a post on his Twitter account on Saturday.

On Friday, the PNP issued a statement “categorically and vehemently” denying that it misused the NTF-Elcac funds by using it to conduct a census in different barangays nationwide.

It said it is implementing the “intensified cleanliness policy” including “cleanliness in the community,” while deepening police-community relations programs to protect the community, especially the youth, “from falling prey to syndicates and being recruited by communist fronts.”

The PNP also said everything it is doing in relation to the NTF-Elcac funds is “above board” and that it welcomes any investigation that may be conducted.

But Lacson maintained that if there is any clear misuse of the NTF-Elcac’s funds, he will join Sen. Franklin M. Drilon’s call to scrap the reported P40-billion proposed appropriations under the 2022 National Expenditure Program.

“I will even request the Office of the Ombudsman to conduct a motu proprio investigation,” he added.

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