If his recent performances in the national debates are of any indication, presidential candidate Panfilo ‘Ping’ Lacson would have easily won voters in the 2022 elections, aside from possessing other admirable qualifications that people can expect from a responsible leader.
Lacson was asked to highlight his advantage over his rivals in a recent town hall forum in Malibay, Pasay City and he pointed out his contributions in his ongoing crusade against corruption, including guarding the national budget in his 18 years as senator.
The former national police chief and veteran lawmaker became known for scrutinizing every budget request of government agencies in the Senate to prevent instances of it getting either misused, unused or abused.
“Pagka panahon ng eleksyon lahat nagsasabi, lahat anti-corrupt—anti-corruption, ‘di ba? Pero sino ang may track record pagdating sa paglaban sa korapsyon? Kami malawak ‘yung aming karanasan, malawak ‘yung aming pakikibaka, pakikipaglaban sa korapsyon. Napakahabang panahon,” he said.
[During election season, everyone becomes anti-corrupt and says they are anti-corruption, right? But who among them has a track record in the fight against corruption? We have the longest experience, vast expertise in this battle against corruption for so many years.]
Lacson would frequently cite some of his exposés in the past such as the anomalous contracts entered into by agencies like the Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Health, as well as questionable transactions in the Philippine Health Insurance Corp., among others to prove this point.
He and Sotto also revealed how they declined to accept suitcases of campaign funds from various groups and individuals in exchange of legislative favors from them during the campaign period because it is against their principles.
“Kung marunong kaming tumanggi sa ganoon kalaking mga pera, alam niyo na na marunong kaming tumanggi sa korapsyon. Hindi lang minsan nangyari ‘yan. Dalawa, tatlong beses na nangyari sa amin ‘yan. Kaya masusubukan nila talaga kami,” Sotto said.
[If we know how to reject such huge amounts of grease payments, you know that we will not tolerate corruption. This did not happen just once. It happened at least twice or thrice. So, they can really test our (incorruptibility).]
In terms of combating illegal drugs, Lacson and Sotto also have the edge by virtue of the former’s experience as a law enforcement officer while the latter served as the author and sponsor of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
“Sabi nga ni Tito Sen kanina, walang mas magaling na magpatupad ng batas kundi ‘yung mga gumawa ng batas (Like what Tito Sen told you earlier, no one is better at implementing the laws than the ones who created them),” Lacson told Pasay City residents.
For his part, Sotto informed the electorate that out of all the past Senate Presidents who served in the upper chamber, only he managed to write 244 proposed legislations that became laws in his 24 years as senator.
“Ako po, 244 na mga batas ang aking dinepensahan at inakda na naging mga batas principally. Sa 244 na ‘yon, ‘pag tiningnan niyo po lahat ‘yung mga kumakandidato kung may nagawang ganoon, wala kayong makikita,” Sotto said.
[In my case, I have successfully defended 244 laws that I principally authored… If you look at other candidates and check if they have the same accomplishments, I don’t think you will find anyone.]
Lacson and Sotto are pushing for their flagship Budget Reform Advocacy for Village Empowerment (BRAVE) program as one of their solutions against the recurring problems of corruption, unemployment and lack of development in far-flung communities and poor provinces nationwide.