MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang’s expenses on awards and prizes for exemplary policemen shot up by 6,200% in 2016 compared to 2015, according to a Commission on Audit (COA) report.
Based on an annual audit report of COA, the expenses of the Office of the President (OP) on “awards/rewards and prizes” for calendar year 2016 increased to P6.857 million from P110,000 in 2015 – an increase of around 6,200%.
The COA report did not provide a breakdown of the OP’s 2016 expenses on prizes and awards per month, to check how much of the total amount was spent by the Aquino and Duterte administrations, but attributed the increase to spending in the second semester, under the Duterte administration.
“The increase in Awards/Rewards and Prizes account represents awards given to PNP personnel due to meritorious and invaluable services rendered during the second semester of CY 2016,” the COA report said.
During his visits to police camps all over the country, Duterte gave away cash prizes and medals to exemplary cops.
These cops were commended by their superiors for outstanding work, usually in the campaign against illegal drugs.
Cash gifts from the President to police made headlines back in December when PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa announced in a press conference that Duterte was going to give ranking police officials cash rewards for Christmas.
The cash gifts would supposedly range from P50,000 to P400,000, depending on the rank of the police officer.
Later on, however, Dela Rosa said the money “did not come” and that, instead, Duterte might give away rice to police. Malacañang also said it was clueless about the cash gifts.
Duterte has also admitted giving away money to police during command conferences so they can use it for drug busts. The police need the money to be able to charge the suspect with drug trafficking.
“You have to give the police money because if they go out and hunt for trafficking of drugs there must be a selling and a buying, otherwise there is no trafficking. That’s why they say they are given money, I do not deny that,” the President said in a media interview on February 27.
“Ask the army, police who went through Davao. I give money every command conference, and also operating funds. Now if they have a buy-bust [operation], they ask for money to buy, because if there’s no money, there’s no transaction of shabu,” he added then.
A month after Christmas, however, Duterte himself admitted the large number of corrupt policemen necessitates an internal “cleansing” in the police force.
After the murder of a Korean businessmen, allegedly by police in Camp Crame, Duterte stripped the PNP of its leadership role in the drug war.
Duterte also frequently gives out financial assistance to families of police or soldiers killed in action, and those who had been injured.
Malacañang has said that funds for these are sourced from the President’s Social Fund. – Rappler.com
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