Preserve Senate Independence

The Senate should reassert its independence anew amid fresh efforts to divide it and project it as a Malacañang lackey on the mess involving corrupt and collusive practices marring local infrastructure projects funded by the World Bank. 

Senator Panfilo M. Lacson made the call as he reiterated his stand to pursue the leads provided by the World Bank on the pending investigation of bid rigging in a Philippine road building loan.

“If we injudiciously exonerate or pin the blame on anybody without exhausting all legal means to get to the bottom of this controversy, then we only have ourselves to blame if we are branded as accomplices or subservient to the corrupt powers that be,” Lacson said.

He said the Senate should not allow itself to be sidetracked by personalities and technicalities that tend to obscure the bigger picture of collusion and corruption in high places in government.

Lacson lamented last Thursday’s hearing gave the public the impression the Senate was protecting personalities with ties to the Palace from the mess, as it focused on the health of First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo.

He added the issue on the World Bank allegations is the latest issue to test the Senate’s independence, which senators had shown in fighting Palace moves to amend the Constitution through a constituent assembly, and in questioning Malacañang’s bid to cramp Senate investigations with Executive Order 464.

“We should not fall into that malevolent trap wherein we, senators, are pitted against each other while the real villains laugh their way to the banks and into peaceful retirement,” Lacson said.