Lacson chided over pork barrel claims

October 06, 2019
Panfilo “Ping” Lacson

AN independent anti-pork barrel congressman has admonished Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson for making  sweeping statements about the alleged insertions of pork barrel by the House of Representatives in the proposed 2020 P4.1 trillion national budget.

Buhay Hayaang Yumabong (Buhay) party-list Rep. Lito Atienza, an independent lawmaker who is against pork barrel, said Lacson should be fair to the members of the House of Representatives, especially with his failure to substantiate his allegations.

“We are appealing to Senator Lacson, huwag mong ipilit na merong pork barrel ngayon.  If you have any proof of this, I, as a committed anti-pork barrel legislator, will help you prevent it.  You’re claiming P1.5 billion per deputy speaker and P700 million per legislator.  I feel slighted.  I am a legislator,” Atienza, a constructive critic of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, pointed out.

Atienza recalled that he was among those who stood against the pork barrel scam allegedly masterminded by businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles.

“We fought Napoles’ pork in my first month in Congress, denouncing it, even months before the Supreme Court decision.  Like you, we are also committed to reforming our legislative processes.  You insist that there is pork barrel, when you have not even read it, I have not even read it either,” said Atienza, referring to the national budget that was passed last September 20 by the House of Representatives and transmitted to the Senate on October 2.

To avoid fake news and rumors, Atienza asked Lacson to help each other in their fight against pork barrel.

“Let’s provide each other information so that we can coordinate.  I do mind when Congress is accused in a blanket manner.  People are unnecessarily alarmed without reason.  It is not fair for those who are trying their best to perform their patriotic task,” said Atienza.

Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor, who chairs the House
committee public accounts, said the House leadership has been urging Senate President Vicente “Tito”Sotto III to ensure that all senators will observe the time-honored inter-parliamentary courtesy during the continued budget discussions, especially against the spread of gossip and fake news.

Defensor pointed out that gossip and fake news are not part of their legislative work.

“We hope that the Senate leadership being an institution that we look up to will debate and ensure that its collective membership will keep the time-honored inter-parliamentary courtesy,” Defensor stressed following the unsubstantiated 4allegations by Lacson.