Senator wants probe over missing allowances of SAF troopers
admin • April 18, 2018 • 3459
MANILA, Philippines — Senate Public Order and Dangerous Drugs Committee chairman Senator Panfilo Lacson wants an investigation on the unreleased P59.8 million subsistence allowance and hazard pay for Special Action Force (SAF) troopers of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
The former chief of police said withholding of allowances may demoralize members of the PNP-SAF.
On Wednesday, April 18, Lacson filed Senate Resolution 712 urging a probe on the issue.
In his resolution, Lacson said, “We cannot allow, yet again, another injustice to be committed against our heroes in uniform who are in the forefront of our fight against the ills of terrorism and criminality, lest we risk demoralization within their ranks.” He insists “the need to probe into the said allegations.”
SAF troopers are entitled to a daily Additional Subsistence Allowance (ASA) of P30 a day or P900 a month. Lacson said that based on records, SAF troopers only received their allowance from January 2016 to July 2017.
He said some members of SAF had approached him regarding their concerns and handed him a copy of the complaint filed against SAF officials at the Office of the Ombudsman.
Former SAF head director Benjamin Lusad and SAF budget officer Senior Superintendent Andre Dizon are accused of plunder and malversation of public funds.
They admitted having the funds but claimed these were used for operational expenses, fellowship, and training. But Lacson said they did not present any proof of liquidation.
Yesterday, outgoing PNP Chief Police Director Ronald Dela Rosa confirmed that a portion of the “missing” money was already turned over by Lusad to the current SAF Chief Police Director General Noli Taliño.
“Una, nagbigay ng P10 million. Tapos, afterwards, nagdagdag ng P27 million so P37 million na iyong naibalik kay General Taliño para i-distribute doon sa mga tropa,” Dela Rosa confirmed.
(He initially gave P10 million. Afterwards, P27 million was added, so a total of P37 million has been returned to General Taliño for distribution to the troops.)
General Bato hopes the investigation will shed light as to why the money was not released. — Marje Navarro – Pelayo |UNTV News & Rescue
MANILA, Phillippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday said that President Rodrigo Duterte should just implement the anti-graft laws to all violators instead of resigning if he wants to end corruption in the government.
“Instead of resigning, the President only needs to be consistent in applying the anti-graft and corruption laws to both friends and foes,” Lacson said in a statement.
Lacson issued the statement after Duterte said he has offered to step down from office out of frustration over the rampant corruption in the country.
“Ewan ko kung sabihin ko ito sa inyo. I offered to resign as president. Pinatawag ko yung lahat, sabi ko, ‘Kasi nagsasawa na ako. In my years of government […] talagang wala na katapusan itong korupsyon. Mahirap talaga pigilin,” Duterte said during his public address late Monday night.
The president’s remarks follows on the heels of fresh allegations of irregularities in the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).
Duterte earlier promised to fire officials over just “a whiff” of corruption.
“Strong words and warnings may work, but only when backed by political will and followed by concrete actions. There is no better way,” Lacson said.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III also said that it is the corrupt officials who should be resigning and not Duterte.
“Dapat ‘yung mga corrupt sa gobyerno makaisip noon, hindi siya. He was elected by the country, he cannot turn his back on the specified task by the Filipinos! I don’t think he means it,” Sotto said in a message to reporters.
As for Duterte’s offer to appear before a Congressional hearing to tackle corruption, Lacson said it may not be necessary.
“In fact, the Senate is already proposing in a bill to give him Bayanihan-like powers to address red tape in government,” he said.
Lacson was referring to Senate Bill 1844 which seeks to authorize the president to expedite the issuance of national and local permits and licenses in times of national emergency to address corruption and red tape in the government. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Harlene Delgado)
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson on Thursday expressed his belief that the proposal to suspend the security assistance provided by the United States to the Philippines “will not only be our loss but theirs as well.”
Lacson issued the statement after a bill seeking such move was introduced to US Congress.
While he recognized the authority of members of US Congress to file a legislative measure “under any circumstance,” the senator said that a major part of the security assistance being extended to the Philippines is used to combat terrorism.
Lacson, who chairs the Philippine Senate committee on national defense, stressed that terrorism knows no borders and timing, and that the US lawmakers “know that for a fact.”
Pennsylvania Representative Susan Wild earlier pushed the proposed Philippine Human Rights Act before the US Congress which seeks to block security funding to the Philippines until the government has made “certain reforms to the military and police forces.”
“Across the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal regime is using the pretext of a so-called “Anti-Terrorism Law” to ramp up efforts targeting labor organizers, workers, and political opponents… In response to these abuses, I introduced the Philippine Human Rights Act to block U.S. funding for police or military assistance to the Philippines outlining a series of basic criteria which would have to be met in order to resume such funding,” she said.
Lacson said that as part of the legislative process, the bill will have “to go through the mill of first reading and referral, committee hearings and floor debates.”
“If adopted and approved, the said bill — H.R. 8313 — will not only be our loss but theirs as well, considering that a major part of the security assistance being extended to the Philippines is used to combat terrorism, which knows no borders and timing. And they know that for a fact,” he added.
Lacson further said that in deliberating on the bill, US lawmakers may have to consider and resolve as a legal issue the existing Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Manila and Washington.
The VFA came into force in 1999. It outlines the guidelines about the treatment of their troops when visiting the US or the Philippines. It includes provisions on visa and passport policies for US troops and the American government’s right to retain jurisdiction over its personnel, among others.
In February, the Philippines moved to terminate the accord but was later suspended for six months in June. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Harlene Delgado)
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson, chairman of the Senate committee on national defense and security, on Thursday urged the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to aim for an “excellent” speed of internet connection.
Lacson made the remark in response to the view of DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan II that the Philippines “is not doing too badly” in terms of internet speed performance during his agency’s 2021 budget hearing in Congress.
“With all due respect to a highly regarded Cavalier and distinguished former Senate colleague, “not so bad” may sound worse than ‘not so good,’” he said in a statement.
Honasan earlier said that while other countries have 55 megabytes per second (mbps) internet speeds, the 3 to 7mbps internet speed in the country “is not that bad” amid complaints over slow speed.
“In the middle of a pandemic when the order of the day is virtual communication, what we want to hear, at least realistically, is ‘good enough,’” Lacson said.
“Of course, it goes without saying, ‘very good’ or even ‘excellent’ is what we all want to hear from DICT. Clearly, there is much room for improvement,” he added.
According to the DICT, the country’s current internet speed could reach up to 25.07mbps, compared to the maximum 7.91mbps in 2016.
The agency said the country’s slower internet connection is due to lack of telecommunications infrastructure compared to other countries that have fix broadbands which require lots of telecommunication towers and fiber optic cables.
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