Lacson says Castro approached him possibly to ‘lobby a project’
MANILA, Philippines — After alleging that huge allocations had been initially allotted to congressmen in the 2020 national budget, Senator Panfilo Lacson revealed Thursday that Capiz 2nd District Rep. Fredenil Castro earlier attempted to approach him allegedly to “lobby a project.”
“[Castro] sought to have an audience with me before this came out. Hindi ko hinarap. Nakakita ako ng visitor’s slip na Congressman Fred Castro would like to visit. Tinanong ko ‘yung staff ko. Mukhang meron siyang ila-lobby na project,” Lacson told reporters in a chance interview.
(Castro sought to have an audience with me before this came out. I did not come to face him. I saw a visitor’s slip saying Congressman Fred Castro would like to visit. I asked my staff. It seems he wanted to lobby a project.)
But Lacson said he refused to meet with Castro, since the latter had failed to make amends with him on the issue on pork barrel and federalism in 2018.
“Hindi ko siya nakausap kasi hindi ko kinausap [I was not able to speak with him because I chose not to speak with him]. What for? Kasi [Because] in 2018, he kept on hitting me not only on the issue of pork pati sa [also on] issue on federalism,” he explained.
“Hindi naman ako nakikipagplastikan sa kanya. Hindi ko naman nature na parang walang nangyari. So I chose not to talk to him. And then when this thing came out, oh parang ano ah, [my staff told me] ‘oh, sir, meron atang ila-lobby na project,” he added.
(I do not want to pretend in front of him. It is not my nature to act as if nothing happened. So I chose not to talk to him. And when this thing came out, my staff told me: “Sir, it seems he wants to lobby a project.”)
Lacson said he was not sure if Castro was already at the Senate compound when he saw the visitor’s slip sometime in August or September this year.
He said he thinks Castro wanted to lobby a project for the 2020 budget so that the senator, known for hitting alleged pork insertions in yearly budgets, would not try to block its funds.
“Siguro ititimbre na niya na ito [ay] para sa mga constituents. Sa akin lang iyon. Hindi ko alam kung totoo [Maybe he wants to say that this will be for the constituents. It is just my opinion. I am not sure if it is true],” he said.
Asked if he would give the same treatment to House Minority Leader Bienvenido Abante Jr. and Anak Kalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor, who also criticized him for his allegation that allocations had been initially allotted to congressmen in next year’s budget, Lacson said: “Ayoko na silang kausapin [I no longer want to talk to them].”
INQUIRER.net has sought for comment from Castro but he has yet to respond as of posting time. /jpv
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