Please allow us to set the record straight, to disabuse the minds of your readers and the public regarding the column of Mr. Ernesto Hilario in the Manila Standard’s Oct. 4, 2019 issue.
In his column, Mr. Hilario extensively quotes statements from the House Speaker and his deputies, including the accusation that Senator Panfilo M. Lacson is an obstructionist "out to derail the reform programs of President Duterte."
Nothing could be further from the truth.
On the aborted plan to provide P1.5 billion for each of the 22 deputy speakers and P700 million for each district, Senator Lacson made clear the information came from some of his sources in the House of Representatives, and that the plan did not push through because some House members did not agree with it.
Also, Senator Lacson warned of a possible violation of the 1987 Constitution if the House approved its version of the budget bill on third and final reading but made amendments afterward. Art. VI, Sec. 26 of the Constitution provides that "upon the last reading of a bill, no amendment thereto shall be allowed."
Who, then, is the real “obstructionist” here? One who points out potential violations of the law, including the highest law of the land, to prevent the passage of an unconstitutional measure? Or one who not only seeks to ignore the warning, but also resorts to drown it out through innuendoes?
But what seems more interesting is that Mr. Hilario seems to have copied parts of his column from J. Albert Gamboa in the Manila Bulletin’s business section (Oct. 3, 2019), to put it politely. Did he and Gamboa engage in copy-paste column writing, or did they just happen to have a "common source"?
The budget bill is now with the Senate. Rest assured the senator will pore through it with a fine-toothed comb. And as the senator has said, he would be the happiest person if the budget indeed contains no pork.
Senator Lacson shares the commitment to make Congress responsive to the needs of the Filipino people. Part of that commitment is to make sure corruption”•including pork”•has no place in the national budget, which is the lifeblood of our nation.
Media Relations Officer
Office of Senator Panfilo M. Lacson