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Solons deny Sen. Lacson’s allegation of ‘pork barrel’ in 2019 Nat’l budget

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Thursday, December 6th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: Sen. Panfilo Lacson

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The House Committee on Appropriations strongly denied that there had been billions of pesos worth of insertions for two congressmen’s pet projects in the proposed 2019 National Budget as accused by Senator Panfilo Lacson.

Specifically, Lacson mentioned a more than P2-billion additional fund intended for the second district of Pampanga.

Though Lacson did not name the involved lawmaker, he was clearly pointing at House Speaker Gloria Arroyo’s district in Pampanga.

But Acting Committee Chair Maria Carmen Zamora stressed that they only provided P1.9-billion, not P2.2-billion, to Arroyo.

“I don’t see any Congress person na may ganoon kalaking increase. I don’t agree na nabuhusan ng proyekto ang distrito ng Pampanga,” Zamora said.

But according to Makabayan bloc, budget insertions are common among lawmakers which they divide among their local officials. In fact, according to ACT Teachers Party list Rep. Antonio Tinio, insertions as such are more massive among the senators.

“Hindi lang sa Kongreso o House of Representatives nangyayari iyan. Sa Senate din ang mas malaki pa nga na mga insertions,” he alleged.

But Zamora maintained that the budget allocations to each of the congressmen all depends on the needs of their respective districts.

“We make sure the reason is equitable distribution based on the needs ng ating mga distrito,” she said. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Grace Casin)

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Exempting gov’t officials from Bank Secrecy Law, a challenge—Lacson

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Friday, July 5th, 2019

Senator Panfilo Lacson

Senator Panfilo Lacson believes exempting government officials and employees from the Bank Secrecy Law would be a challenge in Congress.

Lacson seeks to amend Republic Act No. 1405 or the Bank Secrecy Law. It states that bank account information of any individuals, including government officials, cannot be disclosed to the public unless there is a written permission from the account owner or there is a subpoena from the court.

According to Lacson, the said law hinders or stalls investigation of government officials. Lacson has been seeking to amend the Bank Secrecy Law since 2001.

In the 18th Congress, Lacson will file a request to the Chairman of Banks Committee to become the subcommittee chairman.

“I don’t know if it will see the light in the 18th Congress. Having said that, I may request the Chair of the Banks Committee to designate me as subcommittee chairman and sponsor the bill myself, the same way I sponsored the national ID system as the subcommittee chairman under the Committee on Justice,” he said.—AAC (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

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Lacson sees conflict of interest on presence of Sec Duque in Philhealth Board

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Wednesday, June 19th, 2019

Senator Panfilo Lacson (L) and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III (R)

Senator Panfilo Lacson reveals having possession of several documents that will prove of the seeming conflict of interest with Health Secretary Francisco Duque III sitting in as head of the Philhealth Board.

Lacson made the revelation amid the corruption issues haunting the government health insurance body.

He said, based on the copy of a contract of lease in his possession, the regional office that Philhealth is renting in Dagupan City is owned by Duque’s family.

“If this is not conflict of interest, I don’t know what is. Building mo, naka-contract of lease ka and that is a family corporation,” Lacson said.

He added that he also found out some more modus operandi happening inside Philhealth.

“There’s another modus operandi kung saan yung hospital mismo in cahoots with PhilHealth. Nagbibigay ng report extending confinement of patients na nadischarge na,” he added.

The senator said he is worried of what could possibly happen to the billions of pesos that is allotted as a fund for the Universal Health Care program with Duque at the helm of Philhealth.

Lacson said he will call for an investigation regarding the said issue once the 18th Congress officially opens in July. (with reports from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

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Lacson tells Duterte ‘a lifetime thank you’ for MUP pension increase

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Friday, June 14th, 2019

Senator Panfilo Lacson

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson extended a ‘lifetime’ gratitude to President Rodrigo Duterte for approving the pension increase of some 220,000 retired military and uniformed personnel (MUP) in the government.

“On behalf of the 220,000 MUP retirees, let me say a lifetime ‘THANK YOU’ to PRRD for Joint Resolution No 1,” Lacson said on his tweet on Thursday (June 13).

“No other President has shown such concern for those who served and offered their lives for country and people. All we have to do is continue breathing for as long as we can,” the senator added.

Congress Joint Resolution No. 1 signed by the President authorizes an increase in the base pay of MUPs.

On Tuesday (June 11), the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) already released the pension requirements of retired MUPs under the Armed Forces of the Philippines-General Headquarters (AFP-GHQ), Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).

Specifically, the DBM released P29.9 billion to the AFP-GHQ; P21.7 billion to the PNP; P1.9 billion to the BFP; and around P731 million to the BJMP.

“Accordingly, the recently released amounts already include the adjustment of the pension of the retired MUPs as indexed to the base pay scale of MUP in the active service covering the period June to December 2019 based on the available funds as certified by the Bureau of the Treasury,” the DBM said.

Senator Lacson and Senator Gringo Honasan co-authored the Senate Joint Resolution which authorizes the increase in the base pay of military and uniformed personnel (MUP) in the government.

It was approved and signed as Congress Joint Resolution No. 01.  

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