#PINGterview: ‘Early’ Judgment of Anti-Drug War; ‘Veto’ vs Pork in 2020 Budget | Jan. 8, 2020

In an interview with media in Lingayen, Pangasinan, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
– VP Robredo’s claim that the war vs drugs is a ‘massive failure’
– Filipinos affected by tension in the Middle East
– pork in the 2020 budget
– PNP physical fitness policy

QUOTES and NOTES:

* WAR ON DRUGS:

On VP’s claims the war on drugs is a ‘massive failure’:

“Medyo harsh ang kanyang (VP Robredo’s) judgment or description na massive failure. Kasi ang fight against illegal drugs, that’s a continuing fight. Hindi pa naman tapos. So to say that is a massive failure, that’s too premature, as far as I’m concerned. I’d like to believe the war against illegal drugs has not been successful enough na talagang totally ma-eradicate.”

“No less than PRRD admitted in one of his speeches na frustrated siya kasi gusto niya within 3-6 months, sa first 3 years of his term, tapos na ang problema ng droga, which has not happened. So hindi talaga naging successful. But it is a continuing fight at tuloy pa rin ang laban. Let’s just wait for the time na patapos ang term o tapos na, that’s when we will render judgment kung successful ba o failure ang fight against illegal drugs. But at this point in time, when katatapos lang ng first 3 years ng 6-year term ija-judge mo as a massive failure, I think that’s a bit unfair.”

***

* MIDDLE EAST TENSION:

OFWs affected by tension in the Middle East:

“So far ang problema natin ang OFWs natin, kaya naka-ready ang government, at least may contingency na to repatriate and may naka-standby nang barko roon dahil ang Philippine Coast Guard, may bagong vessel, pina-standby doon para kung kailangan i-repatriate, naka-ready na.”

Ang problema natin dito is if China and Russia would come to the rescue of Iran and it might escalate into, huwag naman sana, WW3, and all of us will suffer. Ang giyera ngayon hindi lang infantry, hindi ito naka-combat boots. Ang giyera ngayon puro remote-controlled. At just the push of a button, pwede ma-annihilate ang population.”

Reports quoting President Duterte he would side with the US if Filipinos are hurt:

“I think that was corrected. Kasi may mga treaties na dapat tayong sundin na hindi agad-agad pwede tayo magpadala ng troops. Ang pinapadala lang natin under the auspices of the UN, ang humanitarian force. Ginawa natin sa Haiti, sa ibang areas where ang humanitarian assistance kailangan. Pero para magpadala ng combatants, we’re bound by treaties with other countries. I think Malacanang has already corrected that statement initially issued by the President.”

***

2020 BUDGET:

Conditional implementation of questionable items:

“Nagkausap kami ni Acting SBM Avisado. And he himself admitted may questionable items. And he even sought my assistance to look for the line items na questionable, which I did. So I submitted to him, copy furnished ES Medialdea, because there was an initial agreement they would take serious consideration sa questionable items. For example, ang lump sum appropriations like asphalting of road in an entire city which has not identified which portion ng kalye sa particular city.”

“So ito ang parang bago nag-declare na unconstitutional ang pork barrel system, ganoon ang kalakaran. Each senator was allocated P200M, each congressman allocated P70M. And post-enactment ang identification. Sa senador na P200M saka mag-identify ng project pag tapos na ipasa ang budget, and that’s called post-enactment. Yan ang struck down ng SC as unconstitutional. Now this time may line item na described as asphalting of road but it covers the entire city. Effectively that’s post-enactment identification of the project. Hindi in-identify. Ano iaaspalto mo sa P50-60M? So yan ang kinu-question.”

“I submitted a list of those items to DBM. Our agreement even after we met, he sent word, he talked with PRRD. There will be no longer items that would be vetoed. But after the President signed the GAA, there’s such a thing as conditional implementation. Pag conditional implementation, that has the effect of a veto. Kung hindi aaprubahan ang release ng pondo for those items, hindi mare-release yan. So conditional implementation has the same effect of a veto. Wala lang tinatawag na conditional veto. Either it’s vetoed or it’s approved. So ganoon ang naging usapan. When he sent word, sabi ko that’s fine with me. Anyway that’s the prerogative of the President to veto or not the items sa national budget. And I think after that, the President announced also na meron siyang na-issue-han na conditional implementation. I read about it, may hindi ire-release na appropriation for certain line items.”

Not the entire P4.1 trillion may be released:

“Ganoon ang mangyayari. Year in and year out, talaga namang hindi nare-release ang buong budget. Kaya nga whenever we deliberate on the budget measure, laging ako kinu-question ko bakit ang laki ng unused appropriations. Ang average niyan sa P200-250B a year. That would bring me to my advocacy na dapat empower natin ang LGUs, because kung hindi rin lang nagagamit ang national budget appropriations, bakit hindi natin i-download sa mga LGUs, para sila ang magamit nila for their own development?”

Innovation on budget process:

“Another innovation to be introduced by DBM now on account of our discussion, basta local projects, various local infra projects, ang pondo nito naka-lodge sa central office. Pero nag-i-implement, binababa rin nila sa mga district engineers meaning LG din ang counterpart, but the budget is lodged in the central office. So ang mangyayari, sabi SBM, basta LG projects, he will see to it the SARO will be issued to the local agencies, not to the central agencies. Ito ang napagusapan naming innovations to improve the distribution of resources of government within the national budget.”

Nurses’ salary hike:

“It’s done already. Kasi noong lumabas ang SC ruling dapat SG 15 ang entry level ng government nurses, naging problema, we’re talking of P3B plus na budget para ma-cover lahat na 40,000 government nurses. What we did, I initiated the search for budget kung saan pwede pagkunan. I saw sa Miscellaneous Personnel Benefit Fund, may pondo roon, may naiwan P8B, so doon ako nag-delete, ni-realign ko papunta sa salary increase ng nurses.”

***

* ANTI-TERRORISM, CRIMINALITY:

Amendments to wiretapping law:

“Kasama yan sa amendment ng HSA kasi I already sponsored it on the floor, nasa period of interpellation, naputol ng Christmas break. We will resume interpellation because I’m the sponsor and also the author. Ang amend namin doon, ang pulis pagmumultahin ng P500,000 a day pagka na-acquit ang terrorist. Kaya ang PNP natin ayaw na maghuli ng terrorist. Ang mga kinasuhang nila na nahuli sa Marawi, ang fina-file nila multiple murder, ayaw nila mag-file ng violation ng HSA or anti-terrorism act. Kasi halimbawa wala silang control at na-dismiss ang case, saan sila kukuha ng P500,000 a day? Kung nakulong ng 10 araw yan, P5M babayaran ng pulis na humuli. So yan ang ina-amend namin plus ang reglamentary period na sinusunod natin for capital offenses, 36 hours maximum. Isang amendment na introduce ko roon, extend ang reglamentary period, pwede mo ikulong ang suspect without filing yet the case for a period of 14 days. Ang basis noon when I asked our resource persons, sabi nila yan ang reasonable time pwede sila mag-follow up, gather evidence and additional information, to really pin down the terrorist, ang legal offensive sa court.”

“I would like to think my colleagues will support that particular amendment in the provision of the HSA.”

***

* PNP FITNESS POLICY:

Tama lang yan, Kaya I’m fully supportive of the pronouncement made by OIC PNP Archie Gamboa, na ang physical fitness ng pulis importante yan, kasi paano ka maghahabol ng kriminal kung sobrang laki ng tiyan mo? Kaya BMI, medyo kung di ka physically fit baka naghahabol ka ng snatcher, atakehin ka pa sa puso. So mas maganda na-renew ang program because when I was CPNP I introduced that. Dinaan ko lang na symbolic para mas madaling maintindihan, 34 inches ang maximum na waistline.”

“Initially there was resistance especially from NCRPO policemen kasi maraming pilosopo roon. Sabi nila let’s see if you can dismiss us from the service kung ang tiyan namin more than 34 inches. Sabi ko that is correct, there’s no such regulation. But if you fail the annual physical fitness test, you can be discharged from the service. That is where I will dismiss you from the service. So everybody was jogging every other day sa Crame. And they would see me also jogging with my directorial staff, so they knew I was serious. And nobody was exempted. I was the first one who underwent the rigors of physical fitness test. Pinapapakita ko sa kanila kaya ko ipasa, kaya dapat kayo ipasa nyo rin. And that was successful. Kaya lang meron uling naglakihan ng tiyan ngayon, naghahanap ako rito parang wala ako masyadong nakita.”

“Regular ang physical fitness test. So bibigyan mo sila ng time to shape up. And ang nangyari noon, many policemen who used to have 44 inches sa waistline, in a matter of 2 months, na-reduce to 34, because nag-hire sila ng nutritionist plus nag-exercise sila. Ang masasaya ang asawa ng pulis kasi maaga naguwian ayaw mag-beer garden.”

“(Sa Pangasinan police), fit ang provincial director. They have no reason not to be fit. Ang tawag doon, leadership by example. How can you impose on your subordinates what you cannot practice? Yan ang importante. Kung ikaw sasabihin mo huwag kayo mangotong tapos ikaw nangongotong, di ka mag-succeed. Sabihin mo kayo kailangan fit, tapos ikaw hihingal ka, walang maniniwala sa iyo. That’s very important, leadership by example.”

***

* MESSAGE TO LINGAYEN:

Magandang bayan ang Lingayen. Maayos, nabasa ko na 24% ang reduction ng crime rate dito, yan ang pinagmamalaki nila, so maayos. Pwede natin sabihing masagana itong bayan dahil first-class municipality. Local revenues nyo rito mahigit P200M a year, and IRA sa P163M, so we’re talking almost P400M panggastos ng bayan. But remember pag sinabing IRA, ang pwede lang gamitin sa development, 20%, so 20% of P163M, just P33M, anong magagawang development para ma-enhance ang economy ng isang bayan like Lingayen kung P33M lang pondo for development? Of course pwede augment yan sa local revenues. Now maswerte ang Lingayen kasi first class. I’ve been to a town in Leyte na ang local revenue, P1M a year, tapos IRA P27M. So sabi ko sa mayor, paano ka makakaangat from a 6th-class municipality? Sabi niya wala talagang pagasa. And that’s why we should really augment the local budget ng mga LGUs from the national budget, which we don’t see right now because only 25% ng budget ang galing sa RDC na pinaghuhugutan ang LDC. So sabi ko kanina there’s a big disconnect. Hindi na-address. Ang poverty index halos hindi nagbabago. Ang BARMM, Region 8, 10, CAR, ang taas ng poverty nila.”

*****

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