MANILA - Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson said he will not stop scrutinizing the 2020 national budget for pork barrel allegedly inserted into the spending plan, despite an agreed "ceasefire on the word war" between some members of the Senate and the House over the issue.
"First of all, ceasefire or not, I cannot stop exposing any form of abuse involving the national budget," Lacson said in a statement Friday.
Lacson earlier supported a proposal by the chamber to halt arguments between the Senate and the House after he said House members would supposedly get P700 million in allocations under the proposed P4.1-trillion budget.
Some members of the House took offense and demanded an apology from Lacson. Among them were Capiz Rep. Fred Castro, House Minority Leader Bienvenido Abante Jr., and Anak Kalusugan Party-list Rep. Mike Defensor.
"Sen. Zubiri has not talked to me about his ceasefire agreement with his House counterpart and Cong. Defensor, who has no qualms about dishonoring his commitment to Sen. Migz (Zubiri) since he has been busy yakking about the issue the morning after their Wednesday so-called agreement," Lacson said.
Castro, who led the charge against Lacson in a plenary session, was accused by Lacson of lobbying for financial assistance for th construction of a municipal building in Dumayag town, Capiz, which costs P258 million.
Lacson showed a document to support his claim, one in which Castro's signature can be seen.
Castro, however, denied this, saying the document was just a letter of request, not a "letter of lobbying."
"As far as Cong. Castro is concerned, I'm done with him after my office released his September 19 'lobby-letter' addressed to me for a P258 million project in Capiz, which he averred as 'fictional' with a straight face when I first mentioned it yesterday. It has become clear who has the propensity to lie," Lacson said.
The Senate was allocated P7.4 billion in the spending plan, while the House sought P14.02 billion. The total budget for Congress is P22.8 billion.