Drilon wants zero budget for PAO forensic lab: 'waste of money'

Composite photo of PAO chief Persida Acosta and Senator Franklin Drilon / Courtesy of Facebook

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said on Monday that he would propose to remove the funds for  Public Attorney's Office (PAO) forensic laboratory, saying it is a waste of money.

Drilon said he would also push for its eventual abolition and move to transfer its P19.5 million proposed funding to another agency.

"Ang pera ng bayan ay nalulustay sa isang bagay na puwede namang gampanan ng NBI at PNP (Philippine National Police)," Drilon said during the Senate finance committee's hearing on the 2020 budget of the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Drilon stressed that creation of PAO’s forensic lab was “unauthorized” and a “clear duplication” of NBI’s existing function.

“It is my view…that the forensics laboratory is a clear duplication of the functions of the NBI and the police who have not been shown inefficient and incompetent,” Drilon said.

“The fact that there is a forensic laboratory exposes us to a situation where there could be conflicting findings from two government agencies.” He added

The forensic laboratory of PAO conducted autopsy on children who died after allegedly being injected by the controversial Dengvaxia dengue vaccine.

PAO is an attached agency of the DOJ and is headed by Persida Rueda Acosta, who received criticisms because their findings is said to have caused vaccine scare among the people.

Drilon also questioned Acosta about the existence of forensic laboratory in her office when it is not included in her office’s command.

The PAO chief explained that they initially have a forensic consultant since 2004 and added staff 
through the years; they inaugurated the forensic lab in 2010 to help them in their investigations.

When asked why they did not tap the services of NBI for the forensic examination, Acosta cited that former Justice secretaries asked them to do it since they also have forensic consultants, adding that alleged Dengvaxia victims’ parents sought their help to conduct the autopsy.

Source: Rappler, GMA News

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