Nagkaroon ng “hatchet job” laban kay Senador Panfilo Lacson matapos niyang isiwalat ang pagkakaharang ng Malacañang sa tinatayang P80 bilyong realignment sa 2020 national budget.
Nakarating sa senador ang paglutang ng pekeng impormasyon na ini-sponsor niya ang isang proyektong kalsada sa Tarlac City sa kabila ng patakaran nito na huwag magpatupad ng proyekto gamit ang pork barrel.
“First, I don’t realign appropriations for road projects, much less local roads since it smacks of a pork barrel allocation. Also, the realignments I propose in the national budget are institutional – meaning, they have undergone planning and vetting, and are based on requests from the implementing agencies concerned,” mariing paliwanag ni Lacson.
Ang nabanggit na pahayag ay ginawa ni Lacson bilang pagpapasinungaling sa lumabas na impormasyon na siya ang nag-sponsor sa P25-milyong road concreting project sa Barangay San Rafael, Tarlac City.
Speaker Cayetano may have a point since the Constitution provides that bills of local application like franchise measures must originate from the House of Representatives.
He is wrong in equating it to the Charter change issue, though, since as practiced and for expediency, we conduct committee hearings on tax and budget measures even before the House transmits its approved version of the bill to the Senate.
What can be considered blatantly violative of the Constitution is if the Senate committee chairperson reports out on the floor for plenary debates the committee report. This is something we have not done and will never do.
Having said that, what I understand to be tackled by the Public Services Committee are not the bills in connection with the ABS-CBN franchise but a filed resolution to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation on the alleged violations of ABS-CBN that is being questioned by the Office of the Solicitor General before the Supreme Court via a quo warranto petition in which I have earlier expressed reservation out of courtesy to a co-equal branch that has already given due course to the said petition.
Unmitigated gall. This best describes some lawmakers who realigned at least P80 billion from the administration’s “Build, Build, Build” flagship program to their districts’ “pet projects” under the 2020 national budget.
This is one reason why I continue to support the leadership of President Duterte in spite of some disagreements with him over some policy issues: He has time and again displayed the strong political will, even against many self-proclaimed allies in Congress whose loyalty clearly lies where the money lies.
Such “allies” have the propensity to praise him to high heavens and never criticize him, but with self-aggrandizement and greed as their only motivation and nothing else. The President should always be wary of these so-called allies.
I hope the Supreme Court will not include the Senate or any of its committees in the gag order, if issued as petitioned by the Solicitor General, in deference to the settled jurisprudence that tackled similar issues in the past.
What may be covered, though, are the resource persons who will be invited to shed light on this instant case involving the franchise of ABS-CBN as they are not exempt from the sub judice rule, which covers litigants and witnesses, members of the bar and the public in general.
Thus, they may run the risk of being cited for contempt once they express their opinions that might pose a clear and present danger in the administration of justice by directly influencing the members of the Court in rendering their votes to resolve the pending petition for quo warranto.
In an interview on DWIZ, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
– lifting of travel ban on Taiwan
– issues involving P/Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido
– possible actions after VFA abrogation
– franchise of ABS-CBN
I have always believed that the real test of character of public officials like P/Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido is power or money. Give them the opportunity to lay their hands on either one or both, and they will reveal who they really are.
I remember then PO1 Espenido during our PAOCTF days as someone who consistently performed his duty with integrity and dedication. At least that was how I knew him in the many instances that he faced those challenges. But that time, he was just a non-commissioned officer at the bottom of the salary grade of police personnel. Rising from the ranks, he held several positions of higher authority until his relief recently.
This morning, I sent him a text message with a simple question: “What happened?” He has not replied, unlike before when he would even text me with early morning Bible quotes.
It is a pity because no less than President Duterte took notice of his performance by publicly acknowledging his contribution to the government’s war on illegal drugs, easily making him the poster boy of the campaign.
Espenido’s case, if true, could be one big reason why the war against illegal drugs is failing.
Being his former superior, I hope he can acquit himself and convincingly disprove this very serious allegation against him. Otherwise, he is just one of the many others I personally knew to have succumbed to the pressure.
Just like the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement, the Philippine government’s travel ban to Taiwan is a policy decision implemented by the executive department which may not necessarily be correct, health-wise and politically.
Politically, it seems that the China lobby has become a very powerful force under this administration. Only time will tell if this major shift in the country’s foreign policy will benefit our people in the medium and long term – even as in the immediate term, the travel ban may already have potentially dire consequences for our Filipino workers there.
We elected a President who does not appear to give much importance to counsels and consultations with sectors that could very well help him arrive at well-informed decisions. While I do not question his sincerity in trying to solve the problems besetting our country since the time the millennials of the world were not even born, I still hope he can leave his own legacy worth remembering.
Having said that, I continue to support his leadership but I will not stop calling him out on major decisions which I don’t think serve the best interest of our country and people.