Exempting gov’t officials from Bank Secrecy Law, a challenge—Lacson

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 5, 2019   •   761

Senator Panfilo Lacson

Senator Panfilo Lacson believes exempting government officials and employees from the Bank Secrecy Law would be a challenge in Congress.

Lacson seeks to amend Republic Act No. 1405 or the Bank Secrecy Law. It states that bank account information of any individuals, including government officials, cannot be disclosed to the public unless there is a written permission from the account owner or there is a subpoena from the court.

According to Lacson, the said law hinders or stalls investigation of government officials. Lacson has been seeking to amend the Bank Secrecy Law since 2001.

In the 18th Congress, Lacson will file a request to the Chairman of Banks Committee to become the subcommittee chairman.

“I don’t know if it will see the light in the 18th Congress. Having said that, I may request the Chair of the Banks Committee to designate me as subcommittee chairman and sponsor the bill myself, the same way I sponsored the national ID system as the subcommittee chairman under the Committee on Justice,” he said.—AAC (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

Lacson reacts to Duterte’s remark to cops on receiving gifts

Maris Federez   •   August 10, 2019

(L-R) Senator Panfilo Lacson and President Rodrigo Duterte

Former police chief-turned Senator Panfilo Lacson has reacted to President Rodrigo Duterte’s remark that members of the police force may accept gifts as “it is not bribery.”

Senator Lacson believes that such actions may spark the beginning of a culture of insatiable greed among police personnel.

“Mr. President, insatiable greed starts with simple, petty graft. It could be more addicting than drugs. There is no detox, nor is there rehab facility available for addiction to money,” Lacson said on his Twitter post.

The president on Friday remarked that police officers may receive gifts from generous and thankful benefactors.

“Kung bigyan kayo, tanggapin niyo (If they give you one, accept it). It is not bribery. What I mean is, if there is generosity in them,” Duterte said in a forum with officials and members of the Philippine National Police. /mbmf

Senate leadership supports resolution to allow Sen. de Lima to join sessions via teleconferencing

Maris Federez   •   August 10, 2019

Senator Leila de Lima

Senate President Vicente Sotto III expressed his support to the resolution filed by Senators Franklin Drilon and Panfilo Lacson to allow Senator Leila de Lima to join them in the plenary session thru teleconferencing.

Lacson said they have ready equipment for that purpose.

It is the same equipment that the Senate used during then-Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile’s term when Senator Antonio Trillanes IV was allowed to join the Senate sessions while in detention.

Once the resolution is approved, De Lima will be able to interpellate in the plenary and file her proposed amendments on existing laws.

De Lima, however, will not be allowed to vote as Senate rules dictate that a senator must be physically present in the plenary to vote.

The lady senator, nevertheless, considered this news a welcome development.

“Great news!  Answered prayers. I’ve been longing to be given such privilege so I can more meaningfully fulfill my mandate,” she said.

De Lima’s camp said they still need to seek clearance from the Philippine National Police (PNP) for this.

Atty. Raymond Baguilat, De Lima’s counsel, said: “Ang rules ng PNP regarding sa mga tao sa custodial ayun nga, bawal ang electronic gadget. So, lahat yan kailangan ng approval ng PNP so iaakyat yan kay Gen. Albayalde [Among the PNP’s rules regarding personalities in the custodial facility is that electronic gadgets are not allowed. So, we need the approval of the PNP and this has to be elevated to Gen. Albayalde].”

Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission chairperson Dante Jimenez, however, is doubtful that this will be allowed by the court.

“I’m pretty sure the court will deny that,” Jimenez said.

The Senate Committee on Rules said that it still has to study the resolution before they present it to the plenary for the senators to deliberate and vote on. (with details from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

Blue Ribbon invites Philhealth officials in hearing on state insurance anomaly

Maris Federez   •   August 6, 2019

Senator Panfilo Lacson

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee has set its hearing on the alleged anomaly in the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) on Thursday (August 8).

In his privilege speech, Senator Panfilo Lacson revealed that Php153-Billion of Philhealth’s fund had gone to overpayments and fraud.

Lacson added that he had requested to send invitations to several Philhealth officials who can testify to the alleged anomaly in the state insurance agency.

“Mga regional senior vice presidents kasi [These are regional senior vice presidents because] many of the information that we got came from insiders from Philhealth themselves,” Lacson said.  (with details from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

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