MANILA - Presidential aspirant Sen. Panfilo 'Ping' Lacson vowed Friday to restore checks and balances in government, and said that if elected, he will seek to end the culture of "palakasan" or patronage system by leading by example.
"Pagka iba yung trato mo sa kaalyado, kaibigan, kamag-anak, at iba ang trato mo sa hindi kaalyado at kalaban sa pulitika, hindi tayo magtatagumpay. So, isa lamang. Hindi pwede double-standard. Kailangan isa lang ang standard sa pamamalakad," he said during the KBP "Panata sa Bayan" Presidential Candidates' Forum.
Lacson said he will address corruption in government through an internal cleansing and digitalization of processes.
"Yung digitalization of all government processes, napaka-importante. Ang digitalization, hampered naman ito sa mahinang, mabagal na internet. So, tugunan natin," he said.
He would also push the Bureau of Internal Revenue to cross-reference its records with those of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Land Registration Authority, and the Land Transportation office to easily find those who would erroneously declare their taxes.
In his opening remarks at the forum, the former national police chief said his vow to Filipinos, if elected to the country's highest post, is a government that can be trusted and they can rely on.
The most painful for him among the challenges that beset the country is how government funds are being misused or stolen since the 1950s, noting that almost P700 billion is lost to corruption yearly.
"Let me share with you the unfortunate reality: Lahat tayo takot manakawan. Ngunit, tuwing eleksyon naman, may binoboto tayong mga magnanakaw," he said.
HIDING IN HONG KONG
Meanwhile, when asked about the time he went into hiding in Hong Kong for over a year after being charged as the alleged mastermind of the 2000 Dacer-Corbito double murder case, Lacson reiterated he violated no laws in doing so.
"Trabaho ng NBI at law enforcement ng PNP ang maghanap ng may warrant of arrest. Ako, wala akong viniolate kasi nga mayroong jurisprudence, yung Tuliao case," he said.
Lacson returned to the Philippines in 2011.
The senator also made public his stances on other issues in the forum, such as his openness to reclamation projects as long as they were "science-based" and "data-driven."
"May mga areas na baka kailangan nila mag-reclaim. Pero again, dapat naka-base ito sa siyensiya at sa mga datos. Kailangan ba talaga? At ito ba, makakasama sa environment? Sa ibang lugar naman, hindi puwede," Lacson said.
On whether he would continue the governments "Build, Build, Build" projects, the senator said that as long as the contract for a certain project was perfected, it would be fulfilled.
"Pero dapat mag-shift na tayo papunta sa PPP (Public Private Partnership) kasi baon na tayo sa utang. Baka hindi tayo maka-afford ng BBB," he said.
Lacson also agreed to sign the Boracay Island Development Authority or BIDA bill if he becomes president, as this would help boost tourism.
"Bigyan natin ng pagkakataon yung talagang yung tourism area, magkaroon tayo ng tourism estate mentality na kung saan makapag-attract at madevelop talaga yung tourism," he said. "Especially yung Boracay, kilala sa buong mundo."