This is it. My long journey of 50 years now comes to an end. Looking back, I had a very simple childhood ambition. To become a lawyer and to start and cap my career as an agent of the NBI. With some unplanned twist of fate I graduated from the PMA. My dream then was to wear that insignia with a star on my shoulder. Instead I got four stars as chief of the nation’s police force and with a bang.
Alam naman natin na hindi gagawin at hindi pwedeng gawin ng Pangulo na ipaaresto at ipakulong ang kahit sinong tao, senador man o hindi.
Only a court of law can issue a warrant of arrest in accordance with the rule of law or under Rule 113 of the Rules of Court. Under Section 5, even a warrantless arrest or citizen’s arrest has clearly defined circumstances.
The President is a lawyer. He should know his law.
President Duterte has been grossly misinformed, hence he barked up the wrong tree. He should have asked his own Department of Public Works and Highways, being the procuring and implementing agency of the project.
It was the DPWH that prepared the Program Of Works, the Terms of Reference and all bid documents, conducted the bidding, awarded, prepared the contract, signed the contract, and issued the notice to proceed, including the cost of the building. The Senate representative was only an observer during the bidding process.
In fact, after the notice of award was issued, I took time to warn the contractor in the presence of some DPWH officials against giving SOP’s to anyone and in whatever form, particularly on the construction of the new Senate building.
Sa halip, asikasuhin niya ang mga kakulangan ng sangay ng gobyerno na kanyang pinamumunuan na hitik sa incompetence at corruption, hindi lang sa pagtugon sa pandemya kundi sa maraming aspeto ng governance.
Kaya hindi nakakasuhan ang ilang matataas na opisyal na naging subject ng pag-iimbestiga namin ay dahil ipinagtatanggol niya sa halip na makasuhan.
Hindi trabaho ng Senado ang magsampa ng demanda. Trabaho ng Executive Branch iyon. Judiciary naman ang magpapakulong. Mahirap bang i-memorize yan?
It is a no-brainer that my friend from way back, Salvador Panelo, being a member of the President’s Cabinet, will defend him, right or wrong. Hence, I’m willing to give him enough leeway.
That said, Art. VII, Sec. 21 of the 1987 Constitution is clear and unequivocal on the participation of each and every Senator in voting for or against the ratification of a treaty or international agreement, which the PH-US Visiting Forces Agreement is.
In fact, official records of the Senate will tell us that the vote on May 27, 1999 was 18-5, without which the same would not have been valid and effective.
More importantly: Whether or not an international agreement or a treaty has already been made valid and effective, it is still wrong to assert that a sitting senator and even an ordinary citizen of this country has no more freedom to express his opinion with something that concerns our national interest.
Dapat nakabukod o hiwalay ang botohan ng Senado at Kamara de Representantes sa pagtalakay ng pagbabago sa probisyon o bahagi ng ating Saligang Batas.
Ito ang nilalaman ng Senate Resolution 623 na inihain ni Senador Panfilo Lacson bilang tugon sa mga galaw na baguhin ang ilang probisyon ng 1987 Constitution.
“My resolution when adopted will clarify unequivocally that voting to revise or amend certain provisions of the 1987 constitution will be done separately via 3/4 votes of the respective members of the Senate and House of Representatives, each voting in plenary,” paliwanag ni Lacson.
Ayon sa senador, ginagawa na ito ng Mababang Kapulungan bagama’t nasa lebel pa lang ito ng committee.
Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson has filed Senate Resolution 623 to unequivocally clarify that voting to revise or amend certain provisions of the 1987 Constitution will be done separately via 3/4 votes of the Senate and House of Representatives respectively.
“My resolution when adopted will clarify unequivocally that voting to revise or amend certain provisions of the 1987 Constitution will be done separately via 3/4 votes of the respective members of the Senate and House of Representatives, each voting in plenary,” Lacson said.
He noted the House of Representatives is doing it now although still at the committee level.
Patawarin uli natin si Cong Garbin – dahil talagang hindi niya alam ang sinasabi niya.
Ito ang reaksiyon ni Senador Panfilo Lacson sa paggamit ni House Committee on Constitutional Amendments chairman Alfredo Garbin Jr. sa isang resolusyon na isinulong ng senador noon pang 17th Congress.
Sa panayam ng Politiko TV, iginiit ni Garbin na ang pagtalakay sa pagbabago sa Saligang Batas na kanilang ginagawa ay batay sa Senate Resolution 580 na inihain ni Lacson noong Enero 2018.
“Under Senate Resolution 580, which I filed in 2018, proposed changes are to undergo the regular lawmaking process. This means proposed amendments to the Charter are to be tackled at the committee level first, then approved in the plenary, before both Houses convene into a constituent assembly. Nowhere in the resolution does it say na committee pa lang, Con-Ass na,” ayon kay Lacson.
Forgive Cong Garbin yet again. This time – for he knows not what he says.
On this note, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson debunked on Saturday the new claim by Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr. that the tackling of proposed amendments to the 1987 Constitution by a House panel last Wednesday was in line with a Senate resolution he authored in the 17th Congress.
Garbin claimed in an online interview Friday that Senate Resolution 580, which Lacson introduced in January 2018, allows both Houses to separately tackle amendments to the Constitution without need for a joint session.
“Under Senate Resolution 580, which I filed in 2018, proposed changes are to undergo the regular lawmaking process. This means proposed amendments to the Charter are to be tackled at the committee level first, then approved in the plenary, before both Houses convene into a constituent assembly. Nowhere in the resolution does it say na committee pa lang, Con-Ass na,” Lacson said.
Malinaw na malinaw ang mga senyales na may “chosen one” na bakuna laban sa COVID-19 ang gobyerno, sa kabila ng kawalan pa ng Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) sa kahit na anong kumpanyang gumagawa nito.
Ayon kay Senador Panfilo Lacson, ang binabanggit ng gobyerno na Sinovac lamang ang puwedeng magamit hanggang sa Hunyo ay nagpapatunay ng pagkakaroon na ng “chosen one” na bakuna.
“Can somebody explain why preference is given to the second most expensive vaccine, has lower efficacy, a record of suspended clinical trials and has not even applied for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) over other vaccines that cost much less, more efficacious and are about to be granted their EUAs?” banggit ni Lacson sa Twitter.
Mas makatuwiran umano para sa mga Pinoy kung ang pagtrato ng gobyerno sa Sinovac ay gagawin din sa mga bakuna ng ibang bansa na di-hamak na mas epektibo at mas mababa ang presyo, ayon sa mambabatas.
“That said, the national government should expedite the procurement of all qualified and available vaccines. To borrow Secretary Harry Roque Jr.’s words, it should not be choosy in buying vaccines,” diin ni Lacson.
After telling ordinary Filipinos not to be choosy in getting their COVID vaccines, the government should apply the same line in expediting the procurement of all qualified and available vaccines, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson said Wednesday.
Lacson noted the availability of only Sinovac until June, as well as the replies of officials at Monday’s Senate hearing, indicate China-based Sinovac is the “chosen one.”
“Can somebody explain why preference is given to the second most expensive vaccine, has lower efficacy, a record of suspended clinical trials and has not even applied for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) over other vaccines that cost much less, more efficacious and are about to be granted their EUAs?” Lacson asked on Twitter.
“That said, the national government should expedite the procurement of all qualified and available vaccines. To borrow Secretary Harry Roque Jr.’s words, it should not be choosy in buying vaccines,” he added.
It’s bad enough that the national government virtually controls which brand/s of vaccines to procure. Pati ba naman ang pagpili kung ano ituturok sa braso ng mga Pilipino, hindi pa rin pwede mamili ang Pilipino?
Bakit ko naman pipiliin ang brand na 50% lang ang efficacy at wala man lang application for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), against other brands with 79% and/or 95% efficacy and have pending EUA approval from the Food and Drug Administration?
Having said that, we can only pray and hope that the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Department of Health properly implement the vaccination plan they laid out during our Senate hearing Monday.
While the plan may sound good, the difference is in the implementation – the reaction and responses to emergencies. Without proper execution, a plan no matter how good it is written and presented, won’t mean anything.
“Heavenly Father, to Thee glory is sung in the highest.
“We come unto Thy loving heart, pierced by our ingratitude and sins. Lift those who sit in distress and in darkness.
“Guide us in the path of Thee for the fulfillment of Thy greater glory.
“All this we ask in the name of the strong deliverer, our only Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.”
I don’t agree on anything that is not transparent, especially if it concerns the national budget. While the bicameral conference committee may have been reduced to a “Committee of Two,” it is not exactly the case.
In fact, I already instructed my staff to coordinate closely with the Legislative Budget Research and Monitoring Office (LBRMO) on whatever movements of funds before the final version of the bill is presented to the bicam members for our signatures and approval.
Also, I practically demanded that I be furnished with a copy of the details of the Senate version before the convening of the bicameral conference, as what we had until yesterday morning was only the summary of the Senate version.
Having said all that, we already found some realignments that may seem questionable, based on our preliminary examination. For instance, while some of my recommended slash from the Department of Public Works and Highways’ budget was adopted, we also noticed at least P10 billion worth of infrastructure projects realigned within the same agency under the Senate version.
Regardless of the constitutional issues involving the House of Representatives’ version of the 2021 budget bill, it is still good that the Senate has enough time to approve our own version, leaving room for the bicameral conference and submission to the President for approval, thus avoiding a re-enacted budget.
Late yesterday afternoon, I submitted my Finance Subcommittee C report covering all the agencies assigned to me as Committee on Finance Vice Chair, in compliance with the Oct. 26 deadline set by the Committee.
However, I based my report on the National Expenditure Program, with a caveat that necessary adjustments will be made once the General Appropriations Bill is transmitted by the House.
Now that the GAB is available as reported, once we get hold of our copy, I’ll make adjustments based on the House version of the budget bill.
From The Daily Tribune: In response to a 24 October editorial of the Daily Tribune, Senator Panfilo Lacson’s camp wrote that the legislator is not ready to give the House of Representatives’ version of the General Appropriations Bill the benefit of the doubt regarding the measure being free of pork.
Last Oct. 16, the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading the P4.5-trillion proposed national budget for 2021. Yet as of today, it continues to tackle amendments via the so-called “small group.”
Art. VI, Sec. 26, Paragraph 2 of the 1987 Constitution is unequivocally clear, regardless of where the amendments will come from. Wala namang sinasabi ang Constitution na pag naghahabol ng “errata,” hindi ito applicable: “Upon the last reading of a bill, NO AMENDMENT THERETO SHALL BE ALLOWED, and the vote thereon shall be taken immediately thereafter, and the yeas and nays entered in the Journal.”
Amid promises of “best efforts” to transmit the budget bill by end-October, if the House still ends up transmitting the bill on Nov. 5, does it mean that the description “House of the People” is all lip service?
It is the President’s option to do whatever is necessary, even taking a “direct” hand in resolving the Speakership issue, with the timely passage of the 2021 national budget as his only consideration. After all, anything that has to do with national interest should involve the President.
This is one credit I would give to the President. As the leader of the coalition of political parties in the House of Representatives, I don’t think there is impropriety if he steps in to resolve the impasse between conflicting groups that are both his allies anyway. A few calls to the leaders of those coalitions can simplify matters.
Having said that, how can the Senate accept a printed copy of an unapproved House version of the budget bill, as proposed by Speaker Cayetano? We can only file a committee report once the General Appropriations Bill is transmitted to us after it has been approved on third and final reading. Why do they have to wait for Nov. 16 to approve the budget on third and final reading? I can’t understand any of this.
Our priority in the Senate remains the same – to pass on time a national budget that will allow us to deal with the effects of the pandemic. This includes scrutinizing the budget bill to make sure huge sums are not lost to incompetence or greed.
It is basic that once an infra project has started its implementation, it is already obligated. Hence, there can be no partial cash allocation, unless that project is discontinued, cancelled, or terminated. Then, the unused portion of the appropriation becomes savings that may be realigned. Or, if the project is covered by Multi Year Contractual Authority (MYCA), formerly known as MYOA or Multi Year Obligational Authority which is clearly spelled out and provided in the 2020 GAA, the same item can reappear in the succeeding budget year.
We were not born yesterday as far as budgeting is concerned.
Sen. Lacson’s Opening Statement at the Senate Committee of the Whole Hearing on Corruption at PhilHealth:
Sa nakaraang dalawangaraw na pagdinig ng komite ng buong Senado na ating isinagawa sa kasalukuyan, buong singkad na maghapon nang parehong araw ng Martes, pinaligiran po tayo ng mga sinungaling at mga manloloko. Sabi nga ng nanay ng kasama nating Senator Grace Poe – “Ang sinungaling ay kapatid ng magnanakaw!”
Let me prove what I just said, Mr. President and distinguished colleagues.
Only last week, I asked Fund Management Sector Senior Vice President Renato Limsiaco, Jr., why despite PhilHealth being a withholding tax agent of the BIR, he failed to deduct and withhold from the funds advanced to the private hospitals and other health care institutions the taxes due them under the National Internal Revenue Code.
And for good reason. PhilHealth is a murky, stinking swamp that many of its good and well-meaning people from the officials to their rank-and-file employees want drained, not just of some corrupt but well-entrenched officials who do not seem to run out of malevolent schemes to enrich themselves, but of a deeply rooted, mafia-like syndicate that controls the resources of the corporation, and habitually manipulate its financial records, that even the COA seems helpless in the conduct of their regular audit.
If we look closely enough, the story only revolves around the same cast of characters – a circle of high-ranking officials who manage to hog their seats despite the change of leadership and detailed anomalies that we already unearthed in the past.
I would say, the syndicate is back with a vengeance – or at least its core group has never left.
It is revolting to see the PhilHealth mafia very much active and still in control of the already depleted resources of the agency, made worse by blatant manipulation of its financial statements. They must have mastered the art of influence-peddling as they seem to continue to gain access to the “corridors of power.”
In an interview on ANC, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* second wave of COVID? [0:21]
* pattern of overpricing at DOH [3:05]
* day of reckoning vs those behind overpricing [7:46]
* need for extension of Bayanihan Act [12:17]
* fate of NCRPO chief Debold Sinas [13:21]
* ABS-CBN franchise issue [16:50]
At the hearing of the Senate Committee of the Whole on the government’s response against COVID-19, Sen. Lacson relayed to the appropriate officials some questions from the public on the tests by PhilHealth and Philippine Red Cross. “We’re not finding fault here… Nang lumabas na 45% ng tests ang na-conduct ng Red Cross, maraming natuwa (kasi ang) impression na dumating sa kanila, libre. Mabuti at maliwanagan ang kababayan natin na may protocols na dapat sundin.”
For his part, PhilHealth president Ricardo Morales said they will publish guidelines to clarify the issue on who can qualify for free COVID-19 testing under PhilHealth, “so the public will be informed.”
In an interview on DZRH, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* post-ECQ scenarios [1:01]
* continued lack of testing, contact tracing [2:46]
* Senate teleconferencing due to COVID-19 [12:59]
* Pagcor allowing reopening of POGO [21:48]
* mensahe sa mga pasaway [28:21]
The resolution calls for the “immediate resignation of Sec. Duque for his failure of leadership, negligence, lack of foresight and inefficiency in the performance of his mandate as DOH Secretary, resulting in poor planning, delayed response, lack of transparency and misguided and flip-flopping policies and measures in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic that endangered and continues to endanger the lives of our health care professionals, other frontliners, and the Filipino people.”
In an interview on DZBB/GMA News TV, Sen. Lacson stressed the need for lawmakers to prioritize help for daily wage earners amid the COVID19-triggered lockdowns, while preventing corruption in the implementation of aid for those affected.
In an interview on DWIZ, Sen. Lacson answered questions on congressional actions to address the COVID-19 threat:
– Extra compensation, health insurance for front-liners
– Heavier penalties vs politicking during calamities
– Addressing economic impact of COVID-19 threat
There is every reason to be concerned as far as the Senate, since an invited resource person who has been tested positive for COVID-19 had not only entered the Senate premises, but even interacted with at least two senators and their staff.
In my case, since I shared the elevator with Sen. Gatchalian yesterday afternoon on our way to the session hall, I am taking precaution by doing self-quarantine while waiting for the result of his test. If he tests positive, I will have to undergo the test myself.
We agreed to disinfect the Senate starting today. I would encourage my fellow senators who may have interacted with our two colleagues, Senators Binay and Gatchalian, to follow their lead and do self-quarantine for two weeks as well, not only for our sake but for others.
The Senate filed a Petition for Declaratory Relief and Mandamus before the Supreme Court on March 9, 2020, seeking a ruling on the need for Senate concurrence in ending treaties such as the VFA. Sen. Ping Lacson, who was among the petitioners, said the petition will be strengthened by Senate Resolution 337. “We’re not filing this petition in our individual capacity as senators but we’re backed by the whole Senate because of SR 337.”
“The ambiguity on the concurrence of the Senate in the abrogation of treaty involves an issue of transcendental importance that impacts on the country’s constitutional checks and balances. It presents a constitutional issue that seriously affects the country’s legal system as well as the country’s relations with the international community.” (co-author with Senate President Sotto and Senators Drilon, Gordon, Zubiri)
In a phone patch interview on DZBB and GMA News TV, Sen. Lacson notes the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 that was passed in the Senate will lead to a more proactive fight against terrorism, while containing safeguards to prevent possible abuses.
At the Kapihan sa Senado forum, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
– Passage of the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020
– Senate’s planned petition before the Supreme Court regarding VFA abrogation
– Congress’ possible actions regarding ABS-CBN’s franchise
As I have earlier mentioned, there is no jurisdiction issue here. Rather, it is about merits in the SolGen’s allegations regarding an existing 25-year franchise that is expiring and over which the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction under the 1987 Constitution; and the merits of ABS-CBN’s application for a legislative franchise that Congress has the sole power to grant or deny under the same Constitution.
It is a matter of different jurisdictions. The quo warranto petition is under the original jurisdiction of the Court. Approval or renewal of legislative franchise is the jurisdiction of both houses of Congress. As such, I see no conflict in jurisdictions.
As in the case of former Chief Justice Sereno, under Art VIII, Sec 5, Paragraph 1 of the 1987 Constitution, the Supreme Court exercises original jurisdiction over a petition for quo warranto, among other petitions filed by the State through the Office of the Solicitor General.
Hence, Solicitor General Jose Calida cannot be prevented from filing the petition in the case of the legislative franchise of ABS-CBN.
Likewise, Congress is not prevented from exercising its powers under the same Constitution to act on the application for renewal or a new franchise which is now pending before the House of Representatives.
One reason why I did not attend the signing of the bicam report: Last night after our session, my office received from the House of Representatives through the Senate Legislative Budget Research and Monitoring Office (LBRMO) one USB drive containing two files, the “Source” File and the “List” File.
Our preliminary scrutiny of the last-minute insertions made by the House would indicate that the Source File is the list of 1,253 budget items worth P83.219B that was apparently used as the congressmen’s ‘source’ of their ‘list’ of 742 projects worth P16.345Bthat were inserted in the bicam report that was signed by both panels this morning.
“I just hope we won’t have any more reenacted budget. As we all know by now, it is the economy that is suffering. Having said that, I have some issues and concerns that need to be clarified. If the sponsor is willing to accommodate just a few points I’d like to raise.” – Sen. Lacson’s opening statement at his interpellation (general principles) on the proposed 2020 budget.
Sa halip na itago, dapat isapubliko ng mga mambabatas ang kanilang isinusulong na amendments sa pambansang badyet para sa susunod na taon, sa pamamagitan ng pag-post nito sa kani-kanilang website.
Ito ang naging hamon ni Senador Panfilo Lacson sa mga kasamahan sa lehislatura upang siguraduhing walang pork ang mga pondong nakapaloob sa 2020 national budget.
“We should make everything public. That includes all amendments we submit, whether institutional or individual. We have our own websites, we should use them for this purpose, as I did for the 2019 budget,” paliwanag ni Lacson.
Instead of whispering proposed “amendments” to the 2020 national budget or scrawl them on napkins, why not post them online?
Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson issued this challenge to fellow lawmakers Tuesday, adding no less than such a show of transparency would dispel suspicions that the amendments are stained with pork.
“We should make everything public. That includes all amendments we submit, whether institutional or individual. We have our own websites, we should use them for this purpose, as I did for the 2019 budget,” Lacson, an avowed enemy of the pork barrel system, said in an interview on DZBB radio.
In an interview on DZBB/GNTV, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
– need for transparency in crafting the 2020 budget
– curbing pork amid growing national debt
– making enemies while fighting pork in the budget