Leftist solons square up with NICA chief at budget hearing

Published September 30, 2020, 10:03 PM

by Ben Rosario

Director General Alex Paul Monteagudo of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) confirmed Tuesday that he had shared Facebook posts allegedly falsely accusing Makabayan lawmakers of committing graft and openly aiding communists, adamantly declaring that what he did was correct based on his own personal belief.

Director General Alex Paul Monteagudo of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA)

Through Muntinlupa City Rep. Ruffy Biazon, Monteagudo claimed sharing the Facebook items that were posted by anonymous on-line news agencies and other bloggers was his personal choice and had nothing to do with his being an official of the government.

Biazon added that the intelligence chief shared the posts to his personnel since sharing intelligence information  is part of NICA’s mandate.

During the plenary deliberations for NICA’s 2021 budget at the House of Representatives, Monteagudo may have added insult to injury by claiming that he did not personally know who were behind the social media posts that Makabayan lawmakers described as utterly false and pure canard.

The deliberations for the NICA budget and that of the National Security Council were later deferred following a motion by Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas.

Brosas noted that the agency failed to submit a national peace framework which is needed to justify the operation of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

The social media pages that Monteagudo shared have recently been taken down by Facebook for “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” aside from being fake accounts.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate chided Monteagudo for re-posting a social media page that accused him of “stealing public funds to finance terrorism.”

“I take strong exception to that, wala po akong ninanakaw kahit isang sentimo,” he stated.

 Demanding that Monteagudo must take down the controversial social media shares, Zarate reminded Monteagudo that irresponsibly sharing false information and unfounded accusation is a violation of Republic Act 6713 which provides that public officials are expected to act with professionalism and highest degree of integrity.

“What is your proof na nagnakaw kami? Your followers will certainly believe that that is true because you are the director general of NICA. And we are already branded as terrorists,” said the opposition lawmaker.

He stated: “These postings are a direct affront to us, to members of this Congress.”

Biazon, who sponsored and defended the budget proposals for NICA and NSA, said Monteagudo stood strongly to the post as reflecting  his personal opinion against the aggrieved lawmakers.

“If the NICA director general will stand to that position with regards to the Facebook share or like, this sponsor cannot impose on him,” he said.