Lacson: My ‘Vendetta’ is Against the Insatiably Greedy Politicians

My “vendetta” is against the insatiably greedy politicians, especially those who lust after pork barrel funds.

This was Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson’s reply to some House of Representatives members who continue to accuse him of “vendetta” in denouncing pork in the 2019 budget.

“Sa mga konggresista na paulit ulit sa pagsasabi na ‘vendetta’ ang aking motibo sa pag atake sa pork barrel nila sa 2019 pambansang badyet – tama po kayo, sukdulang galit na vendetta ko nga ‘yan sa mga katulad ninyong ganid at walang kabusugan sa pera ng mamamayang Pilipino (To the congressmen who continue to claim vendetta is my motive in attacking the pork in the 2019 budget, you are right. But my vendetta is against the insatiably greedy politicians),” Lacson said in a post on his Twitter account.

Related: Mensahe ni Ping: Vendetta Ba? Para sa Lahat ng Ganid Yan!

Lacson reiterated his actions against pork barrel in the 2019 budget are not about any individual congressman or senator, but about his crusade against the pork barrel system and the national budget, which is the lifeblood of the country.

He added he will criticize those who go against his advocacy of keeping the budget free of pork, which had been outlawed by the Supreme Court way back in 2013 but is still resurrected in different forms.

Earlier, Lacson bared post-ratification manipulations by the House leadership on the budget bill after it was ratified last Feb. 8.

He cited figures from the Senate’s Legislative Budget Research and Monitoring Office (LBRMO) showed a net increase of P95.1 billion in the House of Representatives’ realignments.

This includes the slashing of P72.319 billion from the Department of Public Works and Highways’ Major Final Output (MFO) 1 and 2.

Also, the House rearranged or realigned P79.7 billion from several congressional districts to the other districts, and parked P70 billion in the DPWH central office after removing them from 87 District Engineering Offices (DEOs).

“Parking the P70 billion in the DPWH’s central office was meant to make it difficult for people – including myself – to trace where it will go. You could call it a veiled effort to conceal large ‘pork insertions’ of some congressmen,” Lacson pointed out.

Lacson also disclosed the post-ratification maneuvering of funds in the budget by the House leadership – a violation of the 1987 Constitution’s Art. VI, Sec. 2, Paragraph 2: “Upon the last reading of a bill, no amendment thereto shall be allowed.”

The post-ratification tweaks by the House leadership included the Department of Health’s Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP) funds – where Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s allies got P25 million while those who did not vote for her got just P8 million. Lacson said he got his information from House members who noticed the discrepancy.

Worse, the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” legacy program was not spared, with the slashing by the House of P72.319 billion from the DPWH’s MFO 1 and 2.

The DPWH projects affected by the slashing include those had already been planned and vetted for months, or even years.