Where Lacson first planted the seeds of endearment [BusinessMirror]


From Cecilio Arillo’s column in BusinessMirror: It was during his early law-enforcement career when studious Sen. Panfilo “Ping” M. Lacson initially planted the seeds of endearment.

Related: A real public servant to watch [BusinessMirror]

Where Lacson first planted the seeds of endearment

By Cecilio Arillo – January 3, 2019

It was during his early law-enforcement career when studious Sen. Panfilo “Ping” M. Lacson initially planted the seeds of endearment after he was assigned to the PC Metropolitan Command (Metrocom) Intelligence and Security Group (MISG) from 1971 to 1986; rose through the ranks, becoming lieutenant colonel and served at the PC-INP Anti-Carnapping Task Force as its commander from 1986 to 1988.

He also served as Provincial Commander of Isabela from 1988 and 1989, Commander of the Cebu Metropolitan District Command (Metrodiscom) from 1989 to 1992; Laguna Provincial Director from February to July 1992. Later, he was appointed Chief of Task Force Habagat at the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission from 1992 to 1995; and from 1996 to April 1997 he was given the task of project officer of “Special Project Alpha” to root out organized crimes.

It was in these years too when the public began to notice Lacson’s economic managerial and tactical skills, as shown in his academic background, coherently employing men and resources under his command to suppress lawlessness, and thus earned a wholesome image for the Philippine National Police as the protector rather than as a predator. I intentionally removed the details of his accomplishments, including the Kuratong Baleleng case and kidnap-for-ransom cases, because they will not fit in this column, but they are available in the archives of the PNP library and the libraries of various major tri-media organizations.

To a layman, Managerial Economics, my favorite subject when I was teaching postgraduate interdisciplinary studies, is a principle that largely touches on Microeconomics, one of the two branches in Economics that studies intricate small details in the behavior of individuals and firms regarding the allocation of scarce resources and the interactions among individuals. The other branch is Macroeconomics that looks from the aggregate of the performance and behavior of labor, money, employment and inflation in the local, regional, national and international spheres. With knowledge of these two, you can draw up a strategic direction: where you want to go after studying the problem, how you want to solve it and what are the means required to succeed and sustain it.

For instance, in the vote-rich provinces of Cebu, Laguna and Isabela where he was assigned, Lacson was always a top scorer in senatorial elections because it was there where he set the examples of managerial and tactical skills in employing men and resources to clean the streets and highways of lawless elements and thus regained the confidence of the citizens then, unlike now where drug traffickers, hit men and robbers have again resurfaced, creating a big headache for the government.

One of the causes of the resurgence of criminality in the country is the presence of inept and mediocre officers who, instead of studying and learning their lessons, busied themselves in endless mongering and intriguing, and many of them are just waiting for the next odd revolving-door scenario to happen between the Defense Department and Malacañang, on one hand, and between the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Palace, on the other, where many retiring and retired officers are reemployed in key positions in the civilian government, based on favoritism rather than on merits, and thus stunted the careers of many dedicated public servants and in the process, perpetuated discrimination and patronage, causing restiveness in the officer corps and the rank-and-file and affecting field operations to protect the people from lawlessness, the same problems that triggered restiveness among the dedicated lower-ranked and field-grade officers that contributed to the failures of the Ramos and the two Aquino administrations. Examples of these are the intractable human rights violations, the series of coup attempts, robbery, murders and the infamous Mendiola, Luisita, Luneta and Mamasapano massacres.

You will recall that in the Senate, Lacson authored the following measures meant to suppress lawlessness:

* Republic Act 9160, as amended by RA 9194, otherwise known as the Anti-Money Laundering Act;

* RA 9163, the National Service Training Program Act of 2001;

* RA 9166, An Act Increasing the Base Pay of the Members of the AFP;

* RA 9208, The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003;

* RA 9416, Anti-Cheating Act of 2007;

* RA 9485, Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007;

* RA 9165, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002;

* RA 9189, otherwise known as the Absentee Voting Act;

* RA 9287, otherwise known as the Anti-Jueteng and Illegal Numbers Game; and

* RA 9406, An Act Reorganizing the Public Attorney’s Office.

To further stifle criminality, Lacson filed Senate Bill (SB) 2993, designed to provide for a comprehensive law on firearms, light weapons and ammunition, which was signed into law as RA 10591. He also authored a key amendment to the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Act (RA 10349) enacted on December 11, 2012, which aimed to provide more funds to the military for its much-needed capability buildup. In addition, he filed a bill that became a law to attend to the retirement problems of both police and military organizations.

To restructure the excise tax on tobacco products, he filed SB 2763 and 2764, which became RA 10351.

Apart from the foregoing, Lacson championed a milestone legislative measure to promote responsible parenthood and to protect the health of the mother and child by giving them access to reproductive health services, now known as RA 10354.

Not forgetting the town of Imus, Cavite, where he was born on June 1, 1948, he authored a bill that converted it into a city (RA 10161) and SB 2945, which reapportioned one of his favorite provinces in Mindanao (Cotabato) into three legislative districts, that became RA 10177.

Demonstrating further his consistency in the fight against criminality, he also filed several resolutions that held many officials accountable, whether incumbent or former officials, for example:

* Resolution 518: Directing the Blue Ribbon Committee to look into the alleged anomalous acquisition by the Philippine National Police of light operational helicopters in 2009. The resolution triggered an investigation that led to the filing of criminal charges against the officials and personalities linked to the questionable purchase. Some of them were dismissed from the service.

* Resolution 519: Directing the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to look into corruption by the previous board of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. Many of the officials linked to the irregularity — including former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo — have been charged before the graft court.

* Resolution 537: Directing the Blue Ribbon Committee to investigate electoral sabotage in the 2004 and 2007 elections, leading to the filing of charges that led to the arrest and detention of former officials, including Arroyo.

Early on, Lacson initiated the following investigations, in chronological order:

* IMPSA investigation, 2002;

* Jose Pidal investigation, 2003;

* Jueteng investigation, 2005;

* Textbook Scam investigation, 2006-2007;

* Flight of Filipino nurses recruited by Sentosa Recruitment Agency, 2007;

* Alleged bribery in the failed impeachment bid against President Arroyo, 2007;

* Overpricing in the decorative lampposts used in the Asean summit in Cebu City, 2007;

* Irregularities in the multibillion-peso Quedancor swine program, 2008;

* Plan by the Social Security System to channel workers’ pension funds into a government economic stimulus program, 2009; and

* Irregularities in the purchase of video equipment for the Senate’s Public Relations and Information Bureau, 2009.

Retrospectively and prospectively, you can be sure the country and its people are safe with Ping Lacson.