Lacson calls on colleagues to bare amendments in 2020 budget bill

Robie de Guzman   •   November 5, 2019   •   808

Senator Panfilo Lacson

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday challenged his fellow lawmakers to bare the amendments they made to the proposed 2020 national budget following his allegations that billions-worth of “pork” funds were “parked” in the budget bill.

Lacson said such a show of transparency would dispel suspicions that the amendments are stained with “pork barrel” funds.

“We should make everything public. That includes all amendments we submit, whether institutional or individual,” Lacson said in an interview on DZBB radio.

“Most if not all lawmakers have their own websites. Why not post their amendments there, for the public to scrutinize?” he added.

Lacson lamented that in previous years, some lawmakers submit their amendments to their respective finance or appropriations chairpersons without having them go through floor deliberations.

“Instead of having their amendments undergo scrutiny in-floor deliberations, some lawmakers propose their amendments verbally, or even scribble them on napkins,” he said.

The lawmaker said that during Congress’ deliberation on the 2019 budget, he used his website to post his proposed institutional changes.

Institutional amendments pertain to programs and projects that have undergone planning and vetting, and are based on requests from concerned implementing agencies.

Lacson said such institutional amendments are proposed by lawmakers who find merit in them after vetting with relevant agencies.

Individual amendments, meanwhile, pertain to projects based mainly on lawmakers’ intervention and are considered legislators’ pet projects.

“In most cases, these do not involve consultations with the implementing agencies concerned, nor are they part of the Local Development Plans of the Local Government Units,” Lacson said.

He added that such programs can be considered pork barrel, based on the 2013 ruling of the Supreme Court that deems as unconstitutional projects that are “whimsical and arbitrary.”

The 2013 Supreme Court ruling declaring pork barrel as unconstitutional covers “all informal practices of similar import and effect, which the Court similarly deems to be acts of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.”

In pushing for transparency in the national budget, Lacson said people have the right to know where their taxes are going, especially amid the country’s growing debt that now stands at more than P7.9 trillion.

“The national budget involves the people’s money. It should benefit the people and not a few senators or congressmen or even government officials who implement projects. And the budget is funded by our taxes, as well as borrowings if our tax collections fall short,” he said.

READ: Sen. Lacson urged to identify questionable P20-B in proposed 2020 national budget

Lacson, Gatchalian test positive for COVID-19

Maris Federez   •   January 7, 2022

MANILA, Philippines — Senators Panfilo Lacson and Sherwin Gatchalian have tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

In a Twitter post on Friday, Lacson confirmed that he has contracted the virulent virus after undergoing the test on January 4.

He said he has informed all his close contacts since January 3 about his condition and advised them to take the necessary precaution.

“Immediately informed all my Jan 3 physical contacts of my Jan 4 COVID-positive test result which was released only last night, Jan 6 so they can take extra precautions to protect their loved ones and others. Thank God no one is exhibiting symptoms. Wearing our masks helped much,” Lacson said.

Meanwhile, Gatchalian announced his COVID-19 positive result in a Viber message to Senate reporters.

Gatchalian said he tested positive Friday but only experienced mild symptoms.

The senator assured that he is following strict health protocols by self-quarantining away from family members, friends, and the public.

He also appealed to the public to get vaccinated and boosted.

“This is to inform the public that I tested positive for COVID-19 today. Following strict health protocols, I went on self-quarantine away from family, friends, and the public,” he said.

“So far, I am only experiencing mild symptoms from the virus and this goes to show that the vaccines are effective and working against it. I enjoin everyone to get your booster shots right away,” he added. —/mbmf

Lacson-Sotto tandem to endorse 15 senatorial bets in 2022 polls

Robie de Guzman   •   October 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The tandem of Senator Panfilo Lacson and Senate President Vicente Sotto III has bared the list of senatorial candidates they will be endorsing in the 2022 national and local elections.

The list includes the following senatorial bets:

  1. Antique Rep. Loren Legarda
  2. Sorsogon Gov. Chiz Escudero
  3. Senator Sherwin Gatchalian
  4. Senator Migs Zubiri
  5. Senator Joel Villanueva
  6. Senator Richard Gordon
  7. Former Vice President Jejomar Binay
  8. Former DICT Secretary Gringo Honasan
  9. Former Senator JV Ejercito
  10. Former QC Mayor Herbert Bautista
  11. Former DA Secretary Manny Piñol
  12. Monsour del Rosario
  13. Powee Capino
  14. Minguita Padilla

Sotto said the senatorial candidates included in their list are the ones who “deserve to be in the Senate.”

They will also endorse a “surprise candidate.”

“Tulungan niyo po kami sa pagtaguyod sa kandidatura ng ating mga kaibigan. Nakakasiguro po kami na malaki ang maitutulong ng ating mga kandidato sa ating bansa, sa ating mga kababayan, at sa Senado,” Sotto said.

Lacson and Sotto are seeking the presidency and vice presidency, respectively, in the next year’s polls.

Lacson-Sotto tandem files COC for president, VP bids

Robie de Guzman   •   October 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson and Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Wednesday filed their certificates of candidacies (COC) to run for president and vice president, respectively, in the 2022 national elections.

Lacson and Sotto filed their COCs past 11 a.m.

This is Lacson’s second try at seeking the presidential post after a failed bid nearly two decades ago.

Should they win the election next year, the lawmakers said they will intensify efforts against corruption and illegal drugs and ensure proper balance in the use of national budget.

“Kung ipagkakaloob ng Dios na ang Lacson-Sotto tandem ang mapipiling mamuno isang disiplanong burukrasya ang paiiralin, kabilang na ang maayos na paggastos ng pambansang budget upang makaabot ang biyaya at kaunlaran sa mga liblib na lugar ng bansa,” Lacson said during a short interview with the media after their COC filing.

“If we hold the reigns of the executive department we will able to execute it well. We know the ails, we know the solutions, balance the budget, budget reform, reign the money to the people, enhance the fight in illegal drugs by more emphasis on demand with reduction strategy,” Sotto said.

Lacson is running under the Demokratikong Reporma Party while Sotto is under the Nationalist People’s Coalition. Both lawmakers sit as chairmen of their respective parties.

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