Lacson resigns from Senate finance committee to focus on 2022 budget scrutiny

Marje Pelayo   •   August 24, 2021   •   252

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Panfilo Lacson has tendered his resignation from the Senate Finance Committee to focus on scrutinizing the P5.024-trillion budget for 2022.

Lacson, who sat as the Committee’s vice chairperson, vowed to keep a close eye on budget deliberations especially after the Commission on Audit (COA) red flagged several agencies in its recent audit reports.

The senator cited that COA’s audit reports indicate “blatant inefficiency, unconscionable incompetence and worse, probable misuse and abuse of public funds in virtually the entire government.”

“I trust that it is to the greatest interest of our people to once and for all, ferret out the truth behind these reports, put value to the oft-ignored COA mandate, and ensure that there will be no ‘sacred cows’ in making accountable those who have blundered the effective and proper use of public monies,” Lacson said in his letter to Senate President Vicente Sotto III.

Lacson assured the Senate leadership that he will “actively participate in the budget deliberations and reinforce the democratic system of checks and balances.”

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.

Lawmakers say national budget must keep pace with COVID-19 pandemic

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines— Some lawmakers believe that the proposed national budget for 2022 does not fit with the country’s continuous fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Senator Nancy Binay lamented that the country is a step behind when it comes to addressing the effects and risks of COVID-19.

Hindi natin nauunahan ang virus. Lagi tayong nasa catch-up. Kaya para sa akin for next year unahan na natin, pondohan na natin (We can’t seem to get ahead of the virus. We are always catching up. So, for me, for next year let us catch up to it. Let’s allot a budget for it),” she said.

Binay finds next year’s budget lacking with regards to providing aid, and raised concern on the placement of P45 billion fund for COVID-19 booster shots under unprogrammed funds. She also noted the lack of budget for contract tracing.

Ang 2022 budget is not ready for a war with COVID-19 ang daming kulang. Can you imagine, walang budget for contact tracing? And then noong tinanong ko sa Department of Budget and Management (DBM) bakit walang budget, ang sagot sa akin, kasi hindi raw hiningi ng Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), (The 2022 budget is not ready for a war with COVID-19, there is a lot lacking. Can you imagine, there is no budget for contract tracing? And when I asked the DBM why there is no budget, they said, ” It’s because DILG did not ask for it”), Binay said.

Chairman of the Committee on Finance Senator Sonny Angara noted that many of the requirements of the various government agencies and offices are not contained in the copy of the national budget submitted to Congress, particularly those related to the COVID-19 response.

“Agencies should be allowed to submit revisions to their proposed budgets to reflect new developments brought about by the pandemic. The spread of COVID has been rapid and our budget must be able to keep up with it,” the senator said.

Iloilo 1st District Rep. Janette Garin also noted that there is no budget for COVID-19 testing.

“The current proposed NEP (national expenditure program) while there are provisions there for some response for the pandemic, you also have a lot of items under the DOH that can actually be realigned for the procurement of vaccines,” she said. AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

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