📰 Editorial: Lacson’s advocacy [Malaya]

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From Malaya: Sen. Panfilo Lacson has taken up the lonely fight of opposing pork barrel, also known as PDAF or DAP, or some such items in the General Appropriations Bill that smell like pork.

Lacson’s advocacy

December 7, 2018

Sen. Panfilo Lacson has taken up the lonely fight of opposing pork barrel, also known as PDAF or DAP, or some such items in the General Appropriations Bill that smell like pork.

By our count, Senator Lacson is the only member of Congress who has consistently declined to avail himself of the pork barrel privilege, even when the Supreme Court had not yet issued then the ruling that PDAF is unconstitutional and thus, illegal.

That would make Lacson the only lawmaker who has the moral stature to fight pork barrel.

Last Wednesday at the Senate, Lacson identified the places where the alleged huge insertions in the 2019 budget would go – in Lubao, Pampanga and in Camarines Sur. He alleged that a congressman would get an additional P1.5 billion in projects, while a congresswoman got an increase of P1.6 billion.

From P360 million, he said, the congressman’s allocation ballooned to P1.906 billion. In the case of the congresswoman, her budget more than doubled from P726 million to P2.242 billion.

Lacson need not identify who are the lucky lawmakers he is referring to – it is all in the General Appropriations Bill passed by the House and now under scrutiny in the Senate, with Sen. Loren Legarda as the principal defender.

Reporters covering the Senate and their bosses at the news desks are wondering, for instance, how the towns of Lubao would spend P500 million building farm-to-market roads, especially when Lubao is already connected to Subic, Angeles City and San Fernando City by the SCTEX and good roads. Would this not deprive other towns and cities in the country needing roads of the much-needed budget?

In passing the national budget with so many insertions, the members of the House of Representatives are hiding under a legal cloak that says these are specific budgetary items under consideration and not lump-sum appropriations in which congressmen can dip their fingers in after the budget had been enacted.

A lot of hogwash, Lacson would perhaps say, pointing out that pork is pork, whatever way you call it.

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