Lawmaker demands Lacson apologize to House for pork comments
MANILA, Philippines – Capiz 2nd District Rep. Fredenil Castro has asked Senator Panfilo Lacson to apologize to the House of Representatives for making statements on the proposed 2020 budget that allegedly damaged the institution’s reputation.
In his privilege speech on Wednesday’s session, Castro said Lacson’s revelation of an alleged plan to give deputy speakers P1.5 billion each and that this was scrapped before he revealed it to media, is baseless.
“While Senator Lacson is supposed to be a venerable member of the Senate, but I am sad that he does not, and he has not learned to observe the principle of parliamentary courtesy,” Castro said.
“Perhaps Senator Lacson could be sensible enough to realize what he has done and what he has damaged this institution by extending an apology, a sincere apology to this institution and to all the members of this House of Representatives,” Castro said.
Citing information from several lawmakers, Lacson on Tuesday revealed that there were plans to give all 22 deputy speakers an additional allocation of P1.5 billion each, while each House member would get P700 million.
Castro added that Lacson could not possibly scrutinize the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) for 2020 because he still has not yet seen a copy of the proposed budget.
“In one of the pronouncements of Senator Lacson, he said that the pork barrel which could have been inserted in the in the 2020 General Appropriations Bill, was scrapped and worse he said, that this scrapping happened even before he addressed the matter to the media,” Castro said.
“That makes him irresponsible, he has not seen a single a single line of the General Appropriations Bill, he has not studied yet as he claimed the GAB approved by the House, and therefore, he has absolutely no reason to accuse you and to accuse all members of a pork barrel insertion in the proposed General Appropriations Act,” he added.
Castro, who was interpellated by Minority Leader Manila 6th District Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr., also called Lacson ‘isip-bata’ or being childish for not verifying the information. He said that he could have easily verified this with his former colleagues in the Senate, now Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Antique lone district Rep. Loren Legarda.
“He [Lacson] is reckless and irresponsible. I say so because he came out with his statement without first verifying the authenticity of his statement,” Castro said.
“He may not be acting like a little child, but perhaps it would be more appropriate to say that he is thinking like a little child. He may not be a picture of immaturity, but what I could say he’s a picture of someone na isip bata,” he added.
However, the former majority leader clarified that he still respects Lacson, and does not see the senator as a liar. However, he still insists that Lacson should have verified his claims first.
“I still maintain that Senator Lacson, in me, is not a liar, because I said that he acted and blurted an irresponsible statement. Why irresponsible? Because there was no verification on how authentic his source was,” Castro told Abante, who eventually agreed to ask Lacson to apologize.
“Therefore, I demand that Senator Lacson issue an apology to this House, Mr. Speaker,” Abante said after questioning Castro.
Lacson and other lawmakers have already clashed in the past, much largely to his self-proclaimed anti-corruption crusade in the government. He previously revealed the alleged existence of pork in the 2019 GAB, which eventually led to the scrutiny of the proposed budget.
President Rodrigo Duterte previously called out Lacson for trying to be a crusader even if he was allegedly ignorant of several issues.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.