Senator Panfilo Lacson is quite the devious politician.
First he holds up the passage of the 2019 National budget for months and then proposes the passage of a version of the budget with lump sum appropriations — which is a type of budgeting that has been thoroughly abused by the previous administration.
Lacson must be getting a bit old because his ruse to set up the administration for a fall is uncharacteristically obvious and that is to give the Duterte administration rope to hang itself with. While lump sum budgeting gives plenty of discretion as to how government funds will be spent, it also opens up many opportunities for the Duterte administration to be accused of corruption.
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Even IF all of Duterte’s cabinet secretaries spent their department’s funds with extreme care, accusations of misspending or outright theft can still be made.
And as we all have seen, accusations in the court of public opinion sometimes carry the weight of an actual sentence.
Lacson is pretty good with the court of public opinion, perhaps faring better than he did with the court of law when he was a cop.
“The President had asked us to pass the budget so that the programs of government can continue,” Zubiri said.
“You will have to interview SP on the senate proposal to just pass the ratified version while the house is insisting on the line by line itemization and not lump sum,” he added.
Further on, the article says:
Majority Floor Leader Fredenil Castro, in a statement said that during the meeting, the President suggested to the members of both the Senate and the House Representatives to finish the 2019 budget as soon as possible.
“There was a suggestion presented by Senator Ping Lacson to finish the budget by retaining the lump sum appropriations in the bicameral report and just allow the President itemize the projects which may be covered by the lump sum appropriations,” Castro said.
“To this suggestion, Rep. Nonoy Andaya expressed reservation as this would be unconstitutional. This proposal of Senator Lacson did not sit well with the President because, quoting the President, he does not want to be involved in allocating projects,” he added.
But why is Lacson messing things up for Duterte?
“The way I look at it in my own assessment, Senator Ping Lacson is holding the budget hostage because of his personal vendetta to our Speaker [Arroyo]. He has not said anything good about the Speaker from the very start of her leadership as speaker,” Bravo told reporters at a press conference.
“I don’t have personal grudge or animosity with Senator Ping Lacson, but in my own analysis, I think the agenda here is clear, you don’t want the Speaker to be successful and her leadership as the Speaker,” he added.