Senator Panfilo Lacson said Wednesday Filipinos would have to wait for President Rodrigo Duterte on what he thought of the different candidates running to succeed him in June 2022.
Lacson, standard bearer of Partido Reporma was reacting to the order of President to the Philippine National Police to do a “background check” on the most corrupt presidential aspirants in the May elections.
The 76-year-old Duterte, who won his six-year term as chief executive in the May 2016 elections, said this was part of his obligation as head of state.
But aside from that, Duterte said one of the candidates “really cannot be a president” while another candidate could be elected but was “too corrupt.”
If the findings of the investigarion would be grounded on facts and evidence, Lacson stressed this would be helpful to the voters still on the fence as to who to vote for.
He said this would also allow others to change their minds if they felt their chosen candidates were wanting either in integrity, capability or potential.
Lacson, a former PNP chief, also proposed that criminal charges be filed against any presidential aspirant found involved in corruption.
“Curiously, shouldn’t the same facts and evidence on a particular candidate — especially if pertaining to potential corrupt or criminal conduct — be a basis for pursuing a case in the Sandiganbayan or our regular courts?” also asked Lacson.
Meanwhile, Lacson revealed the National Broadband Program, assistance for micro, small and medium enterprises, and projects for social services, livelihood, and infrastructure had all been underfunded by recent administrations – suggesting government mismanagement.
Lacson said he had sponsored the Department of Information and Communications Technology’s budget for 3 to 4 years in the Senate, but the agency did not get the funding it was asking to get the NBP to function.
“Their request was to activate the National Broadband Program… Meaning, it would improve our internet service, its speed. They were only asking for P18-billion in additional (funding). I sponsored that (request). What did the national government give P2-billion,” he said. “They were saying nothing would happen because we want to complete the national broadband (system), the main highway that would improve our internet speed. We never got that, Boy,” he added.
Improving the country’s internet connection, he said. would help Filipinos’ own research and development (R&D) efforts, the three-term senator said, but instead the national government has only allocated 0.4 percent of the national budget to it – when other countries were pouring billions of dollars into it.
This, in turn, led to the country’s reliance on imports, as Lacson said Filipinos turned to Google to research anything they needed to learn about – when it had its own homegrown experts going abroad and working for other countries because there were no opportunities for them here.
The Filipinos going to other countries are so good, yet we buy the inventions they create abroad and bring them back to the Philippines. But we could help them, if we added to our R&D budget and made it at least initially one percent or two percent (of GDP),” he said. He said the R & D would help us prosper because “even our manufacturing sector will thrive with that (more spending. We would be the sellers, not the buyers.
“The (government) policy is just wrong, very wrong,”