SENATOR Panfilo Lacson on Monday questioned the alleged failure of the intelligence agencies to prevent terror attacks despite the more than P5 billion in intelligence funds allocated to them.
“Why was there a failure of intelligence when the total intelligence fund to agencies is over P5 billion?” Lacson said when sought for comment following the twin explosions in Quiapo, Manila, Saturday night that killed two people and injured six others.
“Was it [the money] not enough for the intelligence people to do their job to prevent this kind of case?”
In other developments:
• Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III called on the intelligence agencies to stop terrorist attacks and to catch those responsible for them.
“I sympathize with the victims and commend the policemen for their quick response. But I am wondering where the intelligence agencies are. Preventing these explosions is their job,” Pimentel said in a statement.
“We set aside a lot of money for intelligence agencies. If they can’t prevent these explosions, I expect that, at the very least, they can catch the culprits and prevent things like these from happening again.”
• The chief of the Manila Police District on Monday said the April 28 bombing in Quiapo was considered “solved” but “not closed,” even as the police identified some of the suspects and said one of them was already in custody.
“We consider this case solved but not closed. We need to effect the arrest of all perpetrators,” MPD Chief Joel Coronel told reporters.
He dismissed fears that the bombing was the handiwork of international terrorists.
“This incident is a local peace-and-order problem concerning personalities residing in the area,” Coronel said.
• Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada called on the public to remain calm as the police and the city government had put “everything under control.”
Estrada has ordered the deployment of additional policemen in and around the Quiapo area, particularly at the Islamic Center, for the safety and security of residents and visitors, commercial establishments and government installations.
“Everything is under control,” Estrada said.
“I have ordered our district director, Chief Superintendent Joel Coronel, to be on the lookout for more suspicious characters and deploy more policemen to maintain peace and order.”
Lacson served as chief of the Philippine National Police during the time of former President and now Manila Mayor Estrada.
He said law enforcers should review their intelligence efforts as it was not the first time that the bombing incident had hit the Quiapo area.
“They should review their intelligence efforts in the area,” he said.
He said Senator Gringo Honasan, chairman of the committee on defense, had filed a resolution to look into the government’s intelligence funds.
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III asked why the bombings in Quiapo had not been prevented when Congress had set aside “a lot of money for the intelligence agencies.”
“I sympathize with the victims and commend policemen for their quick response. But I am wondering where the intelligence agencies are. Preventing these explosions is their job,” Pimentel said. With PNA