Loren wants security briefing at presidential situation room
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Loren Legarda during a budget briefing on Thursday, September 22, asked National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr for a briefing on the national security situation at the presidential situation room in Malacañang.
Legarda committed to lobby for the increase of the National Security Council's (NSC) budget to restore its original proposal of P235 million to fund the modernization of the presidential situation room in Malacañang, a budget item that was scrapped when the budget department proposed only P147 million for the council.
Legarda was the lone senator who appeared in the Senate finance committee hearing on the NSC budget. She said she didn't want to ask her questions during the hearing because of the presence of the media.
Esperon invited Legarda, a graduate of the National Defense College, to join a regular national security briefing but the senator preferred a private briefing.
"I don't want to join your meeting. I want to have a dedicated briefing for me, without the president. Ako lang (Just me). Kung nandoon si Presidente, hindi ako makakapagtanong (I won't be able to ask questions if the President is there)," Legarda said.
Esperon replied: "We will coordinate with your staff."
Legarda said she will ask about the Top 5 national security threats, how the government is addressing them, and how the NSC is advising the president. She promised to make the briefing confidential.
The budget hearing lasted for about 15 minutes. Legarda asked the NSC to resubmit its budget proposal.
"I will approve your budget (on first reading) and suspend this session, contingent on your submission of an augmentation of your budget that you can actually use in that meeting. If you need P235 million, I will give it to you to the best of my ability," Legarda said. – Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler.com
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