Sen. Panfilo Lacson has accepted his being “very unpopular” with many fellow lawmakers, over his actions to stop the insertion of pork in the national budget.
Lacson said he could feel some of his colleagues, even those in the Senate, calling him “corny” or even a “killjoy” behind his back.
“I am very unpopular. And I have accepted it. But even among some of my peers, I know because I can feel it. When I’m on the floor we’re in the lounge maski hindi pinakikita, I can feel naguusap sila at my back. Parang corny, parang killjoy or hindi marunong makisama,” he said in an interview on ANC.
“But I have accepted that. Since 2001 during my first term ito na advocacy ko it’s not only now that I am exerting effort to really correct the entire budget process or budgeting system,” he added.
Earlier, Lacson noted the House of Representatives leadership introduced realignments to the budget even after it was ratified, a violation of the 1987 Constitution.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed the 2019 budget bill but not without vetoing P93.5 billion in questionable items, including the post-realignment manipulations questioned by Lacson and the Senate leadership.
Lacson said the veto has cost congressmen involved in pork “a lot” as they get 20 percent from contractors.
But he stressed he will not change his stance as the problem is “more serious” than popularity.
He said a project would suffer from lack of planning if it is identified by lawmakers without consulting with the implementing agency.
“And I have pointed this out during interpellations (that) because of lack of planning, because of inefficiency, mas malaking nawawalang pera. It’s bad enough that we lose billions to corruption. But it’s worse when we lose more to inefficiency because of lack of planning,” he said.