Despite his denials to the contrary, Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar cannot but give in to the “influence” exerted by congressmen, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Sunday.
Lacson said that while the DPWH secretary has the authority to assign personnel in his department, district representatives always use their influence to have their favored district engineers assigned to their districts.
“The question is, can the DPWH Secretary stand up to the pressure exerted on him by the congressmen? As we already know, the answer is obviously no. And no matter how the secretary denies it, nobody is ready to believe him. We also know that it is the root cause of corruption,” he said in a statement.
He also noted congressmen want their “favorite” engineers assigned to their turfs for a “very obvious purpose,” which is “to have full control in the implementation of their ‘pet projects’ funded by their insertions in the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA).”
Lacson lamented almost anything that has to do with politics in the country breeds corruption, adding politics becomes evil when self-aggrandizement and greed come into play.
“Worse, these people do not know when to stop once they have started,” he said.
The result? Dilapidated and substandard roads and bridges and other infrastructure projects; potholes and clogged drainage; and worn-out infra projects even only after a few years of construction and inaugurations, he said.
“This is the main reason why I abhor and remain outspoken against the pork barrel system more than a decade before the Supreme Court ruled on its unconstitutionality in 2013. The national budget is the most violated, if not the most abused law of the land. The abominable part is, the violators are lawmakers and those tasked to implement the GAA. That is why we are so screwed up as a country for as long as we remember politicians,” Lacson said.