Lacson vows to continue crusade vs ‘pork’
SEN. Panfilo Lacson on Saturday vowed to continue his fight against “pork” as he rammed his way through barriers put up by some members of the House of Representatives who were alleged to have tweaked illegal insertions in the House-approved P4.1 trillion national budget for 2020.
“I am going all in. ‘Patay kung patay’ (This is a fight to the death),” Lacson said in his Twitter account.
“Deputy Speaker [Luis Raymund] LRay Villafuerte, party-list Rep. Michael Defensor and other House members can take turns in maligning me while defending their pork, but I’m still going all in. Patay kung patay!” he added.
When asked about what he meant by “Patay kung patay” on his tweet, Lacson said, “If it’s about protecting the national budget from the scheming and abusive congressmen who think that by harassing me, I will cave in and stop, they’re wrong because I’m prepared to fight to the death, in a manner of speaking.”
“The President’s P95-billion veto early this year [of the current 2019 national budget] is inspiring. It’s the people’s money after all,” he added.
Operations of the national government were negatively affected by the months-long squabble between the Senate and the House of Representatives over the P55-billion “pork barrel” inserted in the House-approved budget version.
President Rodrigo Duterte broke the impasse by siding with the Senate and vetoed the P95-billion pork barrel insertion.
When also asked earlier whether he approves of initiatives by some senators led by Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri for a ceasefire on the pork barrel controversy, Lacson said he favored such a move but this would not stop him from snooping for pork barrel appropriations in the House-approved budget.
The Senate will receive anytime this week a copy of the proposed 2020 budget earlier approved by the House of Representatives.
“First of all, ceasefire or no, I cannot stop exposing any form of abuse involving the national budget,” Lacson said.
He added that despite a so-called ceasefire agreement initiated by Zubiri, Defensor has been busy yacking about the issue.
Defensor said he would move for the reduction in the Senate-proposed 2020 budget because senators do not have a constituency like congressmen.
“As far as Congressman [Fredenil] Castro is concerned, I’m done with him, after my office released his September 19 ‘lobby-letter’ addressed to me for a P258-million project in [Dumalag] Capiz, which he averred as ‘fictional’ with a straight face when I first mentioned it yesterday [Saturday],” Lacson said.
“It has become clear who has the propensity to lie,” he added.
House leaders are smarting from Lacson’s allegations that they planned to give P1.5 billion to each of the 22 House deputy speakers.
Despite Lacson’s insistence that that information came from his reliable House sources, House leaders continue to deny any such plan and have since pilloried Lacson.