PCOO budget on hold; solons insists on apology from Badoy

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    THE P1.59-billion proposed budget for the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) for 2021 will be held hostage at the House of Representatives if Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy will continue to refuse to apologize to the Makabayan bloc for publicly accusing them of being officials of the communist movement and labeling them as “terrorists” in her social media posts.

    The House on Tuesday night deferred plenary deliberations on the PCOO’s 2021 budget after Badoy refused to give in to the demand of the minority bloc for her to apologize for red-tagging the militant lawmakers.

    “We have deferred the budget of the PCOO until Usec Badoy issues an unconditional apology. When we speak of the term unconditional apology, to be honest, it’s redundant,” minority leader Bienvenido Abante told ANC TV.

    In a manifesto read by Abante on the floor Tuesday, the 16-man minority bloc joined the Makabayan bloc in demanding Badoy’s removal, saying she “does not embody the proper conduct of a civil servant” because her “malicious terrorist tagging of the Makabayan bloc representatives are putting in jeopardy, not only the security, but more importantly the lives of sitting members of the House.”

    The minority said the PCOO should not only take down all its social and other media posts that “disrespect and slander” the House members belonging to the Makabayan Bloc, it should also issue a public apology “for this grave misconduct against them.”

    Badoy, in a Facebook post on Tuesday, said she has drafted a resignation letter which she said she will sign as soon as the Makabayan bloc denounces the communist movement.

    A caption accompanying in the draft, said the resignation letter has been ready for 18 days and she would “will sign this within the 5 seconds that the Makabayan Bloc denounces the abuses, the inhumanities, the destruction that the CPP-NPA-NDF has committed against the Filipino people.”

    Bataan Rep. Joet Garcia, who defended the PCOO budget, said Badoy’s remarks were her own opinions and do not reflect the PCOO’s even if this was the official positions of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTL-ELCAC) of which Badoy is the spokeswoman.

    Garcia said Badoy is willing to take down the posts and apologize on one condition: the Makabayan congressmen will have to make a written declaration that they are against the communist insurgency that seeks to bring down government.

    Abante rejected this, saying Badoy should apologize unconditionally. He later moved for the deferment of the PCOO budget, a move supported by the majority bloc. — With Jocelyn Montemayor