Lacson resigns as vice chair of Senate finance panel
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Panfilo Lacson has resigned as a vice chairman of the Senate finance committee to “commit himself to the scrutiny” of the proposed 2022 budget because of the “unprecedented advent of red flags” raised by state auditors on different agencies.
During Monday’s plenary session, Senate President Vicente Sotto III told his colleagues Lacson would be stepping down before the budget deliberations.
“I am in receipt of a letter from Sen. Ping Lacson and he is resigning as a vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, saying that the position that he’s taking would give more time for him to focus and commit himself to the scrutiny of the 2022 proposed budget and the most pressing issues of government bureaucracy today because of the unprecedented advent of red flags raised by the annual audit reports of the COA (Commission on Audit),” Sotto said.
Sotto asked Senator Sonny Angara, chairman of the Senate finance committee, what his position was on Lacson’s decision to step down.
“I’m caught a little by surprise with this development, but I will defer to your recommendation, of course, Sen. Lacson is a big loss to the committee on finance,” Angara said.
At that point, Sotto accepted Lacson’s resignation.
Earlier in the day, the House of Representatives and the Senate received copies of the National Expenditure Program, which details the executive department’s proposed P5.024-trillion national budget for 2022.
“I trust that it is to the greatest interest of our people to once and for all, ferret out the truth behind these reports, put value to the oft-ignored COA mandate, and ensure that there will be no ‘sacred cows’ in making accountable those who have blundered the effective and proper use of public monies,” Lacson said in his letter Sotto.
Lacson said COA’s “red flags” indicate the “blatant inefficiency, unconscionable incompetence and worse, probable misuse and abuse of public funds in virtually the entire government.”
Lacson then assured the Senate leadership that he would “actively participate in the budget deliberations and reinforce the democratic system of checks and balances.”
As a vice-chairman of the Senate finance committee, Lacson is tasked to defend the annual budgets of the following:
-Department of Information and Communications Technology and its attached agencies
-Department of National Defense and its attached agencies
-Commission on Human Rights
-Dangerous Drugs Board
-Mindanao Development Authority
-Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
-Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency
-Presidential Legislative Liaison Office
-Southern Philippines Development Authority
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