Category: Hearings/Investigations

‘Nagkalutuan?’: At the Hearing on ‘Ninja Cops’

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[Video Courtesy: Senate PRIB]

At the hearing on corruption and the recycling of drugs, Sen. Lacson smelled a ‘lutong makaw’ in the case of 13 police officers tagged in a controversial anti-drug operation in Pampanga in 2013.

Lacson also questioned the seeming special treatment for P/Maj Rodney Baloyo IV, who was transferred to Tagaytay where he became OIC ‘by design.’

Earlier, Lacson moved to have SPO1 Ronald Santos cited in contempt, for his failure to attend previous Senate inquiries even after being subpoenaed. Santos was among those 13 police officers tagged for grave misconduct in a controversial anti-drug operation in November 2013.

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How to Stop Drug Recycling? Sen. Lacson Chairs the 2020 Budget Hearings of PDEA, DDB

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Sen. Lacson chaired the resumption of the hearing on the 2020 budget of the PDEA and DDB, where the problem of recycling of seized illegal drugs was taken up. Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta and Court Administrator Midas Marquez attended the hearing, upon the Senate’s investigation.

Sen. Lacson cited the problem raised by the PDEA in the previous budget hearing. “Right now, what’s stocked in the warehouse of PDEA is P22B worth of different kinds of drugs. We don’t know because the problem exists as PDEA claims, they have to wait for a court order before they can finally destroy the drugs confiscated. We’d like to find out anong magandang gawin para di ma-recycle ang drugs on account of stocking.”

Related: Sen. Lacson Chairs the 2020 Budget Hearings for PDEA and DDB
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‘Masyadong Mahalay’: At the Hearing on Corruption and Recycling of Drugs

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[Video Courtesy: Senate PRIB]

At the hearing on corruption and the recycling of drugs, Sen. Lacson moved to have P/Maj Rodney Raymond Louie Baloyo IV, relieved head of Pampanga police intel branch, cited in contempt after catching several inconsistencies in his statements on an anti-drug operation in November 2013.

Earlier during the hearing, Lacson questioned why inmates at Bilibid are still being given only P39 worth of meals a day, when the 2019 budget increased their subsistence allowance to P70 a day. Lacson warned the realignment of the funds would be tantamount to technical malversation.

Lacson also scored the revelation by former BuCor OIC Rafael Ragos that the NBP director would get P1M a month from the subsistence allowance. He also questioned Atty. Fredric Santos why he notarized documents of bidders for catering services , when he is an NBP insider and a member of the Bids and Awards Committee.

Related: ‘Do Not Test Our Patience’: At the Hearing on ‘Ninja Cops’
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‘Do Not Test Our Patience’: At the Hearing on ‘Ninja Cops’

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[Video Courtesy: Senate PRIB]

At the Senate hearing on ‘ninja cops,’ Sen. Lacson questioned the seeming lack of action against the police personnel involved a controversial anti-drug operation in 2013. He also nearly moved to have a police officer cited in contempt for not being forthright.

Related: ‘Masyadong Mahalay’: At the Hearing on Corruption and Recycling of Drugs
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AFP Modernization, West Philippine Sea Updates, and National Security: Sen. Lacson Chairs the 2020 Budget Hearing for the DND

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[Video Courtesy: Senate PRIB]

At the hearing on the 2020 budget of the Department of National Defense (DND), Sen. Lacson cited the need to revisit the AFP Modernization Program for the country to achieve its goal of a minimum credible defense posture, and asked if the DND should get compensation from telcos that set up facilities inside military camps.

Lacson also pushed for a sustainable long-term program that would provide for the pension requirements of uniformed personnel. He inquired about the status of a new infantry battalion that would fight terrorism and similar threats in the Mindanao area.

The DND is seeking a budget of P258.35 billion for 2020, including P119.118B for personnel services; P69.704B for pension; P40.701B for MOOE; and P28.831B for capital outlay.

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‘Make Sure Gov’t Portal Is Always Up’: Sen. Lacson Chairs the 2020 Budget Hearing for the DICT

At the hearing on the 2020 budget of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Sen. Lacson urged the agency to take steps to make sure the government portal is always up, including closer supervision and control .

The DICT is seeking a budget of P36.393 billion for 2020 , much higher than the P3.76 billion in the NEP.

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FINE-TOOTHED COMB: Sen. Lacson Poses Questions at the 2020 Budget Hearing for the DPWH

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At the hearing on the 2020 budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways, Sen. Lacson raised several questions involving the agency’s use of funds for infrastructure projects. “Sabi kasi ni Senate President, we will go through the budget with a fine-toothed comb. So we are going through all this.”

Sen. Lacson questioned the lodging of two-thirds of the DPWH’s budget in the central office ; unrecouped advance payments to erring contractors ; and the delay and/or non-implementation of projects due to poor planning . He inquired as well if the issue involving road-right-of-way (RROW) has become a hopeless case .

But he also made clear these are not the only questionable cases, adding this is not to find fault. “We are going through all this. This is not to find fault but for (our) future reference.

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‘Maghahanap Ako ng Pork na Makakaltasan’: Sen. Lacson Chairs the 2020 Budget Hearings for OPAPP, SPDA and MinDA

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Sen. Lacson chaired the hearing for the 2020 budgets of the Southern Philippines Development Authority, Mindanao Development Authority, and the Office of the Presidential Adviser for the Peace Process.

Lacson advised the SPDA to find ways to make its revenue-generating projects more competitive, and consider privatizing or offering for sale the projects that are losing money for government. He urged the OPAPP to coordinate with the appropriate agencies on funding and security of projects in conflict-affected areas.

Meanwhile, Sen. Lacson lauded the MinDA for its fruit festival program bringing Mindanao farmers’ produce to other parts of the country, and vice-versa. “That’s very creative and innovative,” he said.

He indicated the additional funding requests that can be justified could be addressed via “pork” funds that may be found in – and excised from – the proposed 2020 budget. “Maghahanap ako ng pork na makakaltasan,” he said.

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‘Body Cams vs Drug Recycling’: Sen. Lacson Chairs the 2020 Budget Hearings for PDEA and DDB

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At the hearings for the budgets of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Dangerous Drugs Board for 2020, Sen. Lacson stressed the need for preemptive action against the recycling of seized illegal drugs, after learning the extent of the problem. “We have to find a resolution to this festering issue. Social menace ito, di lang law enforcement problem. If we have P22 billion worth of drugs seized, P20 billion of which is shabu and as far back as 9 years ago we really have a serious problem.”

In an interview with media after the hearing, Sen. Lacson also cited other preventive measures such as joint operations, and closer coordination with the judiciary in destroying illegal drugs seized as evidence.

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‘TALAMAK ANG KORAPSYON!’ 7 Major Moneymaking Schemes at Bilibid Bared

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At the fifth Senate hearing on the irregularities at the Bureau of Corrections, Sen. Lacson bared at least seven moneymaking schemes inside the New Bilibid Prison, both petty and large-scale. “Maraming issues. Pagpasok ng contraband. May ‘special request.’ Pagpasok ng ’tilapia.’ Pagpasok ng extended period ng visitation, may bayad.”

While BuCor legal division chief Anthony Frederic Santos confirmed there was corruption in the NBP, with the payoffs depending on the inmate’s ‘level,’ Lacson pointed out the committee also invited former BuCor OIC Rafael Ragos and NBI intelligence agent Jovencio Ablen Jr to give the Senate panel a clearer picture of corruption at BuCor. “The moneymaking scheme has been there since time immemorial,” Sen. Lacson said. “(This Senate investigation is) with the end in view to resolve these issues and come up with legislation to (stop) these malpractices,” he added.

Lacson also asked BuCor OIC Melvin Ramon Buenafe if the situation in BuCor is still reversible, since some inmates have “good command and control over their fellow inmates, even BuCor employees.” He said “surgical action” is needed especially to stop practices like letting inmates out overnight to commit crimes, and get back in.

Related:
At the Hearing on the Release of Heinous Crime Convicts via GCTA (Sept. 2)
#PingSays: Sec. Panelo’s ‘Referral’ for ex-Mayor Sanchez; Sanchez Release and GCTA Issue (Sept. 3)
‘Bakit Kailangan Madaliin?’ BuCor Execs Grilled over Hurry to Release ‘Special’ Convicts (Sept. 5)
Facebooking from Maximum Security: Mobile Phones, Drugs and Firearms in Bilibid (Sept. 9)
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