To The Manila Times: Please allow us to set the record straight and disabuse the minds of your readers regarding the column of Mr. Rolly G. Reyes last March 7 where he made personal attacks against Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson – including his claim that the senator’s disclosures on pork barrel are due to a supposed fixation on Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
On Senator Lacson’s alleged ‘fixation’
Letters, March 15, 2019
Please allow us to set the record straight and disabuse the minds of your readers regarding the column of Mr. Rolly G. Reyes last March 7 (“Ping’s fixation,” Manila Times, March 7, 2019), where he made personal attacks against Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson – including his claim that the senator’s disclosures on pork barrel are due to a supposed fixation on Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. It is quite dismaying that such baseless allegations belie the last paragraph of his piece, “good work, good deeds and good faith to all.”
First, Senator Lacson calls out wrongdoing, regardless of who gets hurt. His latest disclosure about attempts to manipulate and sneak pork into the already-ratified P3.757-trillion national budget bill stemmed from information shared by several members of the House of Representatives themselves. In the case of post-ratification manipulations involving the Department of Health’s Health Facilities Enhancement Program, House members received a text message on the matter from one Ms. Salamanca, who introduced herself as a member of the staff of Speaker Arroyo.
To be clear, Senator Lacson has already made peace with Speaker Arroyo. But this does not mean he will keep quiet when there is an issue on the budget that involves her.
And lest Mr. Reyes forget, Senator Lacson has also spoken out against other personalities involved in pork, even those who he considers his friends. Just ask former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Rep. Anthony Bravo.
Second, while fine-tuning the budget is the work of both houses of Congress, no one from either house has any business tampering with the budget after it is ratified, much less violating the Constitution. Article VI, Sec. 26, Paragraph 2 of the 1987 Constitution particularly states that “upon the last reading of a bill, no amendment thereto shall be allowed.”
It is exactly such manipulation that threatens to render useless the long and tedious hours of bicameral deliberations, scrutiny and fine-tuning leading to both houses’ approval of the budget bill.
On Mr. Reyes’ concern that inter-parliamentary respect has been violated, are the leaders of the House not the ones doing the violating, with their tampering of the budget bill ratified by the Senate and House of Representatives?
To be sure, this is not the first time innuendos were hurled against Senator Lacson for exposing irregularities in the budgeting process. Such attacks also sought to muddle the issue, including claims on “institutional insertions,” which the senator has addressed by posting his institutional amendments on his website.
As for Mr. Reyes’ spirited defense of the Speaker that prompted him to make personal attacks on Senator Lacson, perhaps he would do her — and the public — a much better service if he used his column in this prestigious paper to air her side, point by point, instead of muddling the issue on pork in the budget by making personal attacks on Senator Lacson.
Media Relations Officer
Office of Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson