Lacson Questions DBM on NIA P11-Billion Budget, Possibly New Pork Barrel System

Senator Panfilo Lacson

Former senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson revealed on Saturday some irregularities in the financial report of some government agencies, especially in the P11-billion budget for the National Irrigation Administration (NIA). Apparently, this so-called Unified Accounts Codified Structure (UACS) could be a new pork barrel system.

In an interview with radio DZMM on Saturday, June 13, 2015, Lacson said that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) should be able to explain why there were some blanks found in the coding system that was used in the budget process of the NIA and two other government agencies.

“Hinihiling ko lang, ipaliwanag ng DBM, bakit may mga patlang doon sa UACS? Bakit may mga serial numbers – kung serialized nga ito – e bakit may mga patlang pero may mga halaga?” Lacson said during the radio interview, adding that the questionable amount in the NIA financial report has reached P11 billion.

(I’m just requesting the DBM to explain why there are blanks in the UACS? Why are there serial numbers – if there are really such? If there are, why are there amounts on those blanks?)

“Kung gagalaw ‘yung utak natin baka ito na ‘yung humalili do’n sa pork barrel. Kasi ‘yung mga patlang na ‘yan baka kung kanino ‘yan naka-earmark or naka-allocate not as money but as projects.” The former senator added, with the Supreme Court declaring in November 2013 that the pork barrel system as unconstitutional.

(If we can use our brains wisely, we can see that this could be a replacement for the pork barrel. It’s because those blanks can possibly be allotted to anyone as ghost projects, instead of money.)

Lacson said if those blanks were deliberately done, anyone can allot any project for the budget. This is why the DBM should check for some possible irregularities. However, the former rehabilitation czar emphasized that there could be no corruption involved, noting that the blanks could have been overlooked only.

Incidentally, fighting corruption has been the platform of Ping Lacson. The 67-year old former PNP chief ran for president in 2004 against Gloria-Macapal Arroyo. However, he was not endorsed by LDP President Edgardo Angara, who instead supported FPJ. He plans to run again in 2016 as independent candidate.