On Rep. Andaya’s Claims of Senate Realignments in the Budget:
There is nothing new in what Rep. Andaya said. The P75 billion he is referring to was taken up during the interpellation in the Senate. That was the amount inserted by then DBM Secretary Benjamin Diokno in the DPWH budget, and which was slashed after the DPWH said it was not aware of it.
The P23 billion – not P25 billion as Rep. Andaya claimed – refers to the individual amendments of some senators, which I exposed.
I am not aware of any single senator who has made changes to the budget, after it was approved in the bicameral conference level. If Rep. Andaya can provide more details, such as the text message from a certain Ms. Salamanca, I will join him in denouncing such practice because it is not only in violation of the legislative process, but in violation of the Constitution itself.
On Rep. Bravo’s Claims of ‘Vendetta’
Rep. Bravo’s opinion reflects his true character.
I am a forgiving person. I have forgiven those who have wronged me.
This is not about Speaker Arroyo. This is not about any congressman or senator. This is about my personal crusade against the pork barrel system. This is about the national budget, which is the lifeblood of our country.
In an interview on DZBB, Sen. Lacson discloses how a whopping P95 billion of the DPWH’s 2019 budget was manipulated for pork. Other topics in the interview:
– Senate’s stand on not signing the ‘manipulated’ budget bill
– investigation of former PCSO GM Balutan
“Sabihin ko na tahasan. Ginulo ng House of Representatives kasi ayaw nila sumunod sa Constitution. Ayaw nila sumunod sa legislative process na tama. Sa ngalan ng pork barrel.”
In an interview on DWIZ, Sen. Lacson answers questions on the delay in the passage of the P3.757-trillion budget for 2019, including the following issues: – presidential line-veto of the 2019 budget
– need for sanctions on violations of SC rulings
– possible stalemate on the budget
In an interview on DZBB, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
– manipulation causing delays in the passage of the 2019 budget
– higher penalties vs ‘kotong cops’ and abusive law enforcers
– risks of making public the list of those suspected involved in drugs
Labag sa batas ng Pilipinas ang inpormasyon o materyal na bunga ng wiretapping activities na “imported” o galing sa ibang bansa, ayon kay Senador Panfilo Lacson.
Ayon kay Lacson, ang naturang impormasyon ay salungat din sa pangunahing obligasyon ng Estado na protektahan ang mga Pilipino laban sa pang-aabuso at banta.
Inilatag ni Lacson, na naging pinuno ng Philippine National Police mula 1999 hanggang 2001, ang isang klarong halimbawa kung ang isang indibiduwal galing sa ibayong dagat at mahulihan ng marijuana paglapag sa paliparan sa bansa ay siguradong agad na sasampahan ng kaso ng paglabag sa mga batas ng Pilipinas laban sa ilegal na droga.
“What if someone brings into the country marijuana which he/she got or bought from a foreign country where possession and use of the same is legal? Will the person who brought in the marijuana not be violating the Dangerous Drugs Act?” tanong pa ni Lacson.
Wiretapped information from foreign sources linking Filipinos to crimes such as illegal drugs is a violation of Philippine law and the State’s policy to protect its citizens, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson stressed.
Lacson likened the situation to a person who bought marijuana in a country where it is legal, but will be arrested for violating the Philippine Dangerous Drugs Act once he/she brings it into the Philippines.
“What if someone brings into the country marijuana which he/she got or bought from a foreign country where possession and use of the same is legal? Will the person who brought in the marijuana not be violating the Dangerous Drugs Act?” said Lacson, who headed the Philippine National Police from 1999 to 2001.
He also contested Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra’s reported pronouncement that if the wiretapped conversation came from a country where wiretapping is not illegal, it “may be passed on to the Philippine government and considered admissible in Philippine courts.”
Makakatulog na nang mahimbing sa gabi si Senador Panfilo Lacson kung ang pag-uusapan ay ang pagbabantay niya sa kaban ng bayan laban sa mga wala sa lugar na paggastos at paghahangad ng mga kasamahan na kumupit sa pondong ito.
Nararamdaman na kasi ng mambabatas na nagiging epektibo na ang naumpisahang krusada laban sa pag-abuso ng mga kasamahan sa pambansang gastusin ng pamahalaan dahil sa katakawan sa pork barrel.
Ayon kay Lacson, bilang isang mambabatas ay kabilang sa kanyang sinumpaang obligasyon sa publiko ay ang mahigpit na bantayan laban sa pang-aabuso ang taunang gastusin ng pamahalaan.
“If by exposing all attempts by some lawmakers to go around the Supreme Court ruling declaring pork as unconstitutional, thus stymieing the selfish interests of those elected to perform their legislative duty, I’ll be able to sleep soundly at night knowing that I’ve done my share in guarding against unnecessary wastage of public funds that has prevented our country from taking off and become competitive,” pahayag ni Lacson.
“If by exposing all attempts by some lawmakers to go around the Supreme Court ruling declaring pork as unconstitutional, thus stymieing the selfish interests of those elected to perform their legislative duty, I’ll be able to sleep soundly at night knowing that I’ve done my share in guarding against unnecessary wastage of public funds that has prevented our country from taking off and become competitive,” he said.
“My critics would claim I am just making a lot of noise but I do not let such negative comments affect, much less stop me. This is my biggest advocacy because the budget is the lifeblood of the nation. If this blood is taken away, the nation may suffer from anemia, or even a stroke,” he added.
The 2019 national budget is doomed, but not to our own liking.
I will raise a big legal issue before my colleagues in the Upper House out of this latest scheme that our Lower House counterparts led by their Speaker is resorting to, in order to manipulate the ratified bicameral committee report.
Based on information shared by several members of the House of Representatives themselves, and I completely agree, among the other manipulations being undertaken by the House leadership on the ratified bicameral report prior to the printing and enrollment of the budget measure, Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has no business or legal authority to prepare and impose the menu list of the Department of Health appropriations for Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP) worth PhP25 million in individual allocations for her favored congressmen, including a PhP2.5-million allocation for the purchase of an ambulance; while only PhP8 million are being distributed to those who did not support her election as Speaker.
Worse, exercising this latest brazen, illegal act after the bicameral committee report has been adopted and ratified by both houses smacks of grave abuse of discretion on the part of Speaker Arroyo, not to mention a clear violation of the 1987 Constitution, specifically Art VI Sec 26 paragraph 2, thus:
I maintain, and I trust that majority of my colleagues in the Senate will agree, that such realignments ordered by Speaker Arroyo prior to the printing of the proposed 2019 budget is clearly unconstitutional and inappropriate.
Needless to say, and it is basis in our legislative process that the House as a body has the sole power to make the amendments, not the Speaker, and certainly not after the ratification of the bicameral report.