Days before the House transmitted their proposed budget bill to the Senate, Senators Panfilo Lacson and Franklin Drilon decided to publicly challenge the House’s budget and claim corruption based on rumors.
Drilon must be glad to have found a replacement for his old buddy, former Senator and mutineer Antonio Trillanes IV. In the absence of the administration’s harshest, most irrational critic, Senator Lacson has stepped in to fill the very special important role.
The two-man parade of criticism is running on an engine fueled by rumors. Lacson is quickly learning to fill the shoes of his predecessor, thanks to the guidance of Drilon, a man who has never seen a cause he couldn’t find some way to butt into.
“How can they conclude that the budget bill contains questionable provisions when they haven’t even seen a copy of the document?” said Deputy Speaker Henry Oaminal. A number of House Leaders, including Deputy Speakers Luis Raymund Villafuerte, Deogracias Victor Savellano, and Pablo John Garcia, defended the budget and pleaded with the Senators to observe interparliamentary courtesy.
The mounting facts against them haven’t stopped the Senators from waging a war with their fellow legislators. Since they don’t actually seem to care about the truth of the House’s budget proceedings or whether or not their sources are trustworthy, it’s safe to conclude that their priority is not with the integrity of the budget but instead with how much press mileage they can get from beating this dead horse.
Others see that Speaker Cayetano’s innovations worked the House smarter and harder to pass a budget that was free of pork, parked funds, and delays. President Duterte himself certified the passing of the budget as urgent. Senators Drilon and Lacson see an opportunity to gain relevancy and political clout, at the expense of President Duterte’s economic agenda.
If we continue to give what these “good” Senators what they want, we may see a repeat of last year’s budget disaster.