Dubious items in the Department of Public Works and Highways’ budget for 2021 – including double and overlapping appropriations – could be a key starting point for Malacañang in reviewing the P4.5-trillion 2021 budget bill, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson said.
“It is clear that questionable items such as double and overlapping appropriations should be vetoed, along with at least 793 line items for multi-purpose buildings with a uniform P1-million appropriation each,” he said in an interview on DZRH radio Thursday evening.
In an interview on DZBB/GMA News TV, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* possible supplemental budget to deal with COVID-19 [0:26]
* at least P989B unused from 2019 budget [2:40]
* local officials naipit sa Social Amelioration Program [17:39]
* DBM circular barring release of 35% of 2020 budget’s appropriations [19:45]
* lockdown until June? [24:17]
In an interview on ANC, Sen. Lacson answered questions on: – reported arrest of ‘person of interest’ in the uploading of ‘tunay na narco list’ video
– Senate Bill 2219, encouraging public participation in budgeting process
– PRRD’s taking up WPS issue with Chinese President Xi
– illegal Chinese workers and SMEs
In an interview on DWIZ, Sen. Lacson answers questions on: – possible veto of the 2019 budget
– resolution calling out US senators for arrogance
– new vote-buying scheme using 4Ps, up to P25,000 per vote?
– Holy Week 2019
Undoubtedly, and as I have always pointed out, the 2019 national budget measure had been subjected to abuse and indiscretions by some legislators from both houses of Congress, with the House of Representatives’ leadership even going beyond the mandate of the law and time-honored legislative practice.
At the end of the day, it is greed and insatiability of those who cannot control their appetite for more and more ‘pork’ and all the perks and commissions that go with it.
Having said that, the President is well within his legal authority to veto in whole or in parts the Enrolled Bill already before him if he and his economic team see it wise to do so.
As for me, I am prepared to fight the next battle when the National Expenditure Program for the 2020 national budget is submitted by the President at the opening of the First Regular Session of the 18th Congress.
It is tiring and frustrating, but I am always ready and able to fight another day for my career-long advocacy as an elected Senator of the Republic – that of fighting corruption, particularly in the authorization phase of the budgeting process.
Sen. Lacson’s office answers repeated questions and accusations about the 2019 budget in this letter to The Manila Times‘ April 1, 2019 editorial. The letter sought to answer some questions in the editorial that were addressed to the senator, though it has yet to be published.
Fake news ang ipinapakalat na balitang tinapyasan ang pondo para sa pensyon ng beterano sa 2019 budget, kung saan isinulong ni Senador Panfilo Lacson ang P15,000 na karagdagang benepisyo kada beterano.
Ito ay binigyang-diin ni Lacson bilang tugon sa mga kongresistang nagsasabing nahagip ng ginawang pagtapyas ng Senado sa 2019 budget ang pondo para sa pensiyon ng mga beterano.
Una nang natukoy sa mga ulat na binanggit ni House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rolando Andaya Jr. na maraming pondo na ginalaw ang Senado sa 2019 budget at tinamaan umano ang Pension and Gratuity Fund para sa mga beterano.
Dahil dito, nakakatanggap na ng tawag ang tanggapan ni Lacson mula sa mga nagtatanong kung totoong isinulong niya ang pagtapyas sa pondo para sa kanilang pensyon.
In an interview on CNN Philippines, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
– pork in the 2019 budget
– Chinese presence in the West Philippine Sea
– reported plan to publicly name cops involved in the drug trade
At the Kapihan sa Senado forum, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
– birthday wish and ‘grade’ for President Duterte
– former police Col. Acierto
– war on drugs and DDB survey
– whether the P3.757-trillion 2019 budget will be pork-free
– Ayalas’ apology amid recent NCR water crisis
– preferences for the May 2019 elections
Sen. Lacson joins colleagues in explaining their proposed solution to end the 2019 budget impasse. Sen. Lacson also answered questions on:
– Manila Water’s decision to waive fees over water supply row
– Chico River loan agreement
– claims of former policeman Eduardo Acierto
Para sa lahat ng mga mambabatas na ganid at walang kabusugan sa paghamig ng pork barrel sa ginalaw pa na niratipikahan nang 2019 national budget ang vendetta ni Senador Panfilo Lacson.
Ito ang nilinaw ng senador bilang tugon sa tila sirang plaka na akusasyon ng mga kongresistang kaalyado ni House Speaker at nakulong sa katiwalian na dating Pangulong Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Si Lacson ay ilang beses na inakusahan ng mga talking heads ni Arroyo na umano’y vendetta o paghihiganti sa lider ng Kamara ang tunay na mithiin ng mambabatas sa pagkuwestiyon sa ginalaw na niratipikahang 2019 national 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,” tuwirang pahayag ni Lacson sa kanyang Twitter account.
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.
In an interview at the sidelines of the groundbreaking of the new Senate building, Sen. Lacson discloses the House has agreed to recall its version of the 2019 budget with post-ratification tweaks. Other topics in the interview included:
* Rep Andaya accusation that Senate removed P17B from the DPWH RROW budget
* timeline for the New Senate building
Nililito ng liderato ng Mababang Kapulungan ng Kongreso ang publiko gamit ang paiba-ibang palusot ng mga kaalyado nito upang maitago ang ginawang pagkalikot sa P3.757-trilyon 2019 budget kahit matapos na ito ratipikahan, pero lalo lamang silang nabubuking.
Ayon kay Senador Panfilo Lacson, kahit pa gumamit ng sangkaterbang “talking heads,” hindi maitatago ng liderato ng Kamara ang ginawang pagkalikot sa mga pondong nakapaloob sa pambansang badyet.
Binanggit pa ni Lacson na hindi uubra ang palusot na isa lamang umanong “itemization” ang ginawa ng mga kaalyado ni Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo sa budget dahil maliwanag na maliwanag na realignment ng pondo ang ginawa ng mga kaalyado ni Arroyo.
“National budget: Don’t be fooled by congressmen tasked to make us believe they merely ‘itemized’ when in fact, they arbitrarily realigned to favored districts several appropriations already approved by both houses of Congress thereby sacrificing already vetted infra projects,” pagsisiwala ni Lacson sa pamamagitan ng kanyang Twitter account.
It’s bad enough that the House of Representatives leadership realigned a whopping P95.1 billion in the P3.757-trillion proposed budget for 2019 to favored districts. It’s much more revolting that they tried to hide it by invoking “transparency.”
On this note, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson scored the House’s “talking heads” for insisting that the maneuvering in the budget – after it had already been ratified by both houses of Congress – was for “itemization.”
“National budget: Don’t be fooled by congressmen tasked to make us believe they merely ‘itemized’ when in fact, they arbitrarily realigned to favored districts several appropriations already approved by both houses of Congress thereby sacrificing already vetted infra projects,” Lacson said in a post on his Twitter account.
“Trying to hide their unconstitutional post-ratification budget realignments by claiming they wanted to itemize lump sums in the name of transparency: If that’s not irony – or hypocrisy, I don’t know what is,” he added.
They are confusing the public. There is a whale of a difference between itemization and realignments of what have been approved by the joint bicameral conference committee and ratified in plenary by both houses of Congress.
Instead of engaging in obfuscation and personal attacks on us by their designated talking heads, the House leaders should pursue a sensible dialogue with the Senate leadership.
Otherwise, we will have no choice but deal with the next House leadership come July.
To The Manila Times: Please allow us to set the record straight and disabuse the minds of your readers regarding the column of Mr. Rolly G. Reyes last March 7 where he made personal attacks against Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson – including his claim that the senator’s disclosures on pork barrel are due to a supposed fixation on Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Not true. Instead, my suggestion didn’t sit well with the congressmen.
Executive Secretary Medialdea and Finance Secretary Dominguez in fact favorably endorsed my suggestion to President Rodrigo Duterte as a practical and logical approach to break the impasse, especially when I informed the President about the House of Representatives substantially slashing the P72.319-billion DPWH appropriations for the agency’s MFO1 and MFO2 (Major Final Output), which will have negative implications on the government’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ program.
What was obvious last night is that the suggestion didn’t sit well with the congressmen because they cannot be sure if all their realignments will be adopted. It’s all about their pork, not mindful if they will be derailing the flagship projects of the government.
Mismong ang Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte ang naglabas ng mensahe na hindi niya lalagdaan kung may nilalaman na ilegal ang 2019 national budget, kaya dapat na maramdaman na ito ng liderato ng Kamara.
Ayon kay Senador Panfio Lacson, kung talagang bukal sa kalooban ng liderato ng Mababang Kapulungan ng Kongreso ang sinasabi nitong pagsuporta sa legislative agenda ng Pangulo, dapat sumunod ito sa ninanais ng huli.
Una nang binanggit ng Pangulong Duterte na hindi niya pipirmahan ang pambansang badyet kapag nakitaan niya ito ng ilegal na nilalaman, oras na makarating sa Malacanang matapos na umano’y kalikutin pa ng Kamara kahit aprubado na at naratipikahan.
“He is correct. What I can’t understand is why the House leadership cannot take the hint from President Duterte himself,” pahayag ni Lacson matapos na mabatid ang mensahe ng Presidente.
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
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.
In an interview on DWIZ, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
– possible delay in the signing of the 2019 budget due to House’s post-ratification pork
– need to revisit RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty amid US State Secretary Pompeo’s assurance
If you notice, the budget bill has not been transmitted to Malacañang in spite of the bicam report being ratified by both houses of Congress more than two weeks ago.
I have it on good information that the House leadership is still waiting for several congressmen to finalize the submission of their individual projects. This is not to mention that insertions and realignments were made even after the bicameral report ratification.
While technically speaking, it may not constitute post-legislation enactment since the President has not yet signed the budget measure, we can see clear abuse of discretion especially if done without the concurrence of the Senate; it is also an utter disregard of the Supreme Court’s 2013 landmark ruling.
This latest caper that the House leadership is trying to pull off may also constitute violation of the 1987 Constitution. I’ve talked to some congressmen who expressed anxiety that the pork barrel allocations of at least 60 congressmen were slashed post-bicam ratification.
Whatever it is, these are things that they do for greed. It’s a shame and revolting, to say the least.
To those who remain confused about institutional and individual amendments in the budget, Sen. Lacson differentiates the two in his letter to The Manila Times.
Sen. Lacson’s letter is in response to the challenge of former Sen. Francisco Tatad for further details of the institutional amendments he proposed to the P3.757-trillion national budget for 2019. The letter was sent to The Manila Times last Feb. 19. As the reply has yet to be published after more than one week, this is also for the enlightenment of those who had read former Sen. Tatad’s earlier insinuations and challenge to Sen. Lacson.
To the Manila Standard: It is quite pathetic that Mr. Olivar, instead of helping his former boss clear up the issue of pork in the 2019 budget, chose the path of his fellow talking heads by hurling personal innuendos at the Senator to muddle the issue.
Dahil mulat na ang publiko sa pag-abuso sa kaban ng bayan bunga ng patuloy na pag-iral ng pork barrel sa mga mambabatas, lumilinaw na ang pag-asang magamit ang pondong napupunta sa mga ito sa tama at dapat na pagkagastusan.
Ayon kay Senador Panfilo Lacson, itutuloy niya ang kanyang krusada laban sa pork barrel at ang susunod na yugto nito ay ang kampanyang masunod ang tamang budget process upang matukoy ang mga prayoridad ng pagkakalooban ng pondo.
“It is high time we eliminate the obvious disconnect between the needs and priorities of the countryside local government units and the expenditure program at the national level, due to the absence of consultations,” banggit ni Lacson.
After seeing some progress this year, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson is eyeing more headway against “pork” and other flaws in the warped budgeting process that has allowed it to thrive.
Lacson said making sure the budgeting process is followed properly will prevent “pork” by having district representatives in Congress take part in planning at the local level, instead of inserting projects after Malacanang has already submitted its version of the budget – the National Expenditure Program – to Congress.
“It is high time we eliminate the obvious disconnect between the needs and priorities of the countryside local government units and the expenditure program at the national level, due to the absence of consultations,” Lacson said.
“Because of this disconnect, district representatives – instead of attending and participating in the formulation of local development plans within their districts, where they are members of the Local Development Councils – opt to arbitrarily make insertions during the authorization phase, without due regard to the needs and priorities of the LGUs within their districts,” he added.
“As the abolished “pork barrel” shows itself anew, dynamic and changeable; resounds in the halls of our country’s legislature; and speaks of the insatiability of corruption, how can one, in good conscience, not see, hear, and speak of it?” – Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson, in his privilege speech on Feb. 8, 2019
Mr. President, I rise before you on a matter of personal and collective privilege.
“To See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil.”
Mr. President, put literally, this proverbial adage serves as an age-old directive for dealing with impropriety — by looking the other way, refusing to hear and speak out, and feigning ignorance when something wrong is unfolding.
Sen. Legarda did not actually present what she and Rep. Andaya have agreed upon in the small group bicam. She merely articulated to the best of her recollection what the bicam report would be presented for ratification.
Basically, yes, the P160 million per House member plus the billion-peso insertions made by a number of their colleagues, and the P23-billion Department of Public Works and Highways insertions by a number of senators plus other insertions in different agencies have all been retained.
Sadly, no matter how hard I argued last night, I only have one vote although I have good reason to believe that some like-minded colleagues are supportive of deleting all pork insertions, particularly the excessive and unconscionable realignments made not only by our House counterpart, but by a number of our colleagues as well.
On a positive note, all appropriations for flood control, particularly dredging, desilting and the like have been deleted to be realigned to capital outlay for purchase of dredging machines. Also, the Department of Health realignment that the Senate introduced and most of my institutional amendments have been retained, like the 240-day-a-year school feeding program for wasted and nearly wasted school children, additional allowance for teachers, some appropriations cover for laws passed regarding our age old veterans, augmentation budget requested by the judiciary, activation of one infantry division, etc.
More than that, hopefully, I was able to enlighten the public because of the public discourse that transpired, for or against the outlawed pork barrel. I would say, we have gained some headway in this regard.
Hopefully, the President and his economic managers will further scrutinize the final version of the budget bill as passed by Congress and exercise his veto power to excise the line items that clearly look and smell like pork.
Puwedeng maawat ng Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte sa pamamagitan ng veto power ang pagkalulong at pagkagahaman ng karamihan sa mga kongresista at ilang senador sa pork barrel.
Ito ang nakikitang solusyon ni Senador Panfilo Lacson upang malinis at matanggal sa loob ng 2019 national budget ang pork barrel na pilit na isinisingit ng marami sa kanyang kasamahan sa lehislatura na tila walang kabusugan.
Ayon kay Lacson, higit pa sa sapat ang veto power ng Pangulo upang matanggal ang mga personal amendments sa pambansang badyet na bunga ng pagsisingit, hindi lamang ng mga kongresista kunding maging ng ilan sa kanyang mga kasamahan sa Senado.
“Mr. President, you have displayed your strong political will on several occasions. This time, use your line-item veto power over the 2019 appropriations measure by removing all the ‘pork’ inserted by lawmakers who are incorrigibly insatiable and simply ‘beyond redemption,’” banggit ni Lacson sa kanyang Twitter account.
“Mr. President, you have displayed your strong political will on several occasions. This time, use your line-item veto power over the 2019 appropriations measure by removing all the ‘pork’ inserted by lawmakers who are incorrigibly insatiable and simply ‘beyond redemption,’” he said.
From Jarius Bondoc’s column in The Philippine Star: Worth recalling, when the SC banned pork barrels in Dec. 2013, the slabs were P200 million each for 24 senators and P70 million each for 255 congressmen – P22.65 billion. Today, five years later, pork is 14 times larger.
Sa halip na magdulot ng kahihiyan, lalong nakatulong ang mga kongresistang naglilihis sa tunay na pangyayari sa 2019 national budget para maunawaan ng publiko ang krusada ni Senador Panfilo Lacson laban sa pork barrel.
Ayon kay Lacson, ang mga kongresistang nagsalita na ang mismong nagpaabot sa publiko kung gaano kaganid ang mga ito bunga na rin ng pagbaluktot sa mga usapin, makapagpasasa lamang sa pork barrel na itinago sa iba’t ibang ahensiya.
Matapos ang sunod-sunod na pagbubunyag ng mga nakatagong pork barrel sa iba’t ibang ahensiya mula sa deliberasyon sa Senado hanggang sa pagtalakay nito sa bicameral panel, nagpalusot at nag-imbento ng buwelta kay Lacson ang ilang kaalyado ni House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The more they talk, the more they enlighten the public about the “evil pork” in the national budget, if unwittingly so.
On this note, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson thanked the “talking heads” of House Speaker Gloria Arroyo for contributing to the public’s knowledge on the issue.
“What Speaker GMA’s talking heads obviously do not realize is that they’re actually advancing my cause in educating the public more about the ‘evil pork’ in the national budget. I earnestly urge them to continue this public discourse. Many thanks to Cong. Castro and Bravo,” Lacson said in a post on his Twitter account Saturday night.