Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson
By Junex Doronio
APPARENTLY USING the issue of 2021 national budget, Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson on Friday, October 9, fired at his potential contender for the 2022 vice presidency Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.
“Hindi lang pagpasa ng budget sa tamang oras ang tungkulin namin. Kailangan ding tiyakin naming mga mambabatas na hindi mapupunta ang pondo ng budget natin sa mga kurakot at mga incompetent,” the feisty senator from Cavite blasted.
Lacson conceded that it is the President’s option to do whatever is necessary, even taking a “direct” hand in resolving the Speakership issue, with the timely passage of the 2021 national budget as his only consideration.
“This is one credit I would give to the President. As the leader of the coalition of political parties in the House of Representatives, I don’t think there is impropriety if he steps in to resolve the impasse between conflicting groups that are both his allies anyway. A few calls to the leaders of those coalitions can simplify matters,” Lacson said.
He also did mince words in rejecting the reported proposal of Cayetano that the Senate would just have to accept a printed measure from the House of Representatives that suddenly suspended its session.
“How can the Senate accept a printed copy of an unapproved House version of the budget bill, as proposed by Speaker Cayetano? We can only file a committee report once the General Appropriations Bill is transmitted to us after it has been approved on third and final reading. Why do they have to wait for Nov. 16 to approve the budget on third and final reading? I can’t understand any of this,” Lacson said.
He stressed that the priority in the Senate remains the same – to pass on time a national budget that will allow us to deal with the effects of the pandemic.
“This includes scrutinizing the budget bill to make sure huge sums are not lost to incompetence or greed,” Lacson said.
Some political anaysts said both Lacson and Cayetano are positioning themselves to be the vice presidential candidate of a “united opposition.”
Other vice presidential materials include Bongbong Marcos and Manny Pacquiao.