Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy continues to play hardball with the House of Representatives, dragging the approval the agency budget with her.
House Appropriations Committee vice-chairman, Bataan 2nd district Rep. Joet Garcia was designated Tuesday the unenviable task of defending the PCOO’s proposed 2021 national budget, which ended up getting suspended following a motion of Minority Leader, Bienvenido “Benny” Abante Jr.
Abante–taking up the cudgels for the six Makabayan Bloc congressmen that Badoy had repeatedly assailed and tagged as New People’s Army (NPA) officials on her social media posts–demanded that the PCOO official apologize to the solons during Tuesday plenary debates on the proposed national budget.
The Makabayan solons belong to the broad Minority Bloc led by Abante, Manila’s 6th district representative. No apology came from Badoy, who could have passed on such message to Garcia whom Abante was interpellating.
Instead, she was seen holding her head up high and crossing her arms in the direction of the Minority Leader.
“I’d like to reiterate that I do not have any personal quarrel with Usec Badoy. But I also felt insulted when some members of this chamber would be tagged as terrorists,” said Abante, who is also a Baptist bishop.
“I think any apology do not have any conditions…Mr. Speaker, with even regret, I move for the deferment of the budget of the PCOO,” he said. Deputy Speaker Johnny Pimentel, the presiding officer, carried the motion after no one objected.
The PCOO, Malacañang’s main communications arm, had a proposed budget of P1.59 billion for next year.
Before asking for the suspension, Abante read on the floor Badoy’s quote from one of her posts wherein he accused the Makabayan solons of being “high-ranking NPA officials who are out to destroy the government.” At the end of the post were the words “Usec. Lorraine Badoy, National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) spokesperson.”
Garcia responded by saying this wasn’t an official statement from PCOO. “That is her own opinion, it is not the opinion of the PCOO. It did not come from the office of the PCOO,” he said.
But Abante said Badoy’s use of her title as undersecretary shows that she is invoking her position with PCOO in connection with her red-and-terrorist tagging of elected House members. “Ang sakit ng kalingkingan ay sakit ng buong katawan (What ails the pinkie is felt by the entire body),” he noted.
Aside from the public apology from Badoy, Abante said the Minority Bloc also demands that all PCOO officials to take down all of their posts–on social media otherwise–that slander and disrespect the Makabayan solons. Lastly, they asked for Badoy’s removal from her position.
Garcia, coached by Badoy, eventually said the latter was willing to apologize.
“Willing po siya i-take down (ang posts), willing po siya humingi ng paumanhin, basta po ang ating mga kasamahan ay magsa-sign din o ipapaalam din sa lahat na sila ay laban sa kahit anong armed conflict para patumbahin ang ating pamahalaan (She’s willing to take down her posts, she’s willing to apologize as long as our colleagues would sign or express to everybody that they are against any armed conflict aimed at bringing down government),” the Bataan solon said.
The PCOO official’s condition wasn’t acknowledged by Abante. Instead, he challenged Badoy to bring her accusations against the Makabayan congressmen to a court of law and prove them there.
Abante said Badoy lacks “the basic Filipino core values and deliberately disrespects elected public officials who were mandated to serve their constituencies.”
“These relentless attacks of Usec Badoy through her social media platforms, which even incited her followers to issue threats of harm against sitting members of the House, are not acceptable to the Minority, and, we will not take it in stride or sitting down,” he said.