Lacson Throws Full Support Behind Move to Slash Pork

Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson on Wednesday threw his full support behind a move to slash the pork barrel funds of lawmakers in the 15th Congress, saying it is a positive step towards helping the country get back on its feet. 

Lacson, who has foregone his pork barrel funds since 2002, said this could also help the new administration fulfill its promise of less corruption since there will be less temptation for members of Congress.

“I strongly support the Liberal Party’s move to cut the pork barrel by half to help the country back on its feet under the new administration,” Lacson said.

As early as 2002, Lacson decided to forego his pork barrel funds, which he said is a strong temptation to commit graft.

In a privilege speech in 2003, he called for the abolition of the pork barrel system.

“Under the pork barrel system, only less than half of the taxpayers’ money actually goes to the programs of work. More than half habitually goes to the pockets of corruption. Occasionally, depending on the insatiability of the corrupt, a shameful twenty percent of the fund is left to finance the project,” he lamented.

Lacson pointed out that of the payments for pork-funded projects, two percent goes to the Commission on Audit as “S.O.P.” while 10 percent is given to the district engineer and other officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways.

Two percent is passed on to the Barangay Chairman, and five to 10 percent to the mayor or governor if they so demand. The only legal share from the slice of the pork is the contractor’s profit and the taxes he pays – if at all.

Worse, he said 20 percent of the project cost is earmarked for the legislator who identifies the project.

“There is no saying here that every senator or congressman is corrupt. It is only to say that we have all become suspect. The public has every basis and right to suspect. And we seem not to mind anymore,” he said.