Senator Panfilo "Ping" M. Lacson
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Biography | Resume
Ang tama, ipaglaban. Ang mali, labanan. (What is right must be kept right. What is wrong must be set right.)
These words have served as the constant guide of SENATOR PANFILO “PING” MORENA LACSON, who has been circumspect in matters of public interest and committed against various forms of corruption in his more than 50 years of public service in the fields of law enforcement, lawmaking, and humanitarian work.
Lacson is an untiring, tenacious watchdog of the national budget, making sure dubious congressional insertions (a.k.a. pork barrel) and useless appropriations are checked and deleted during plenary debates.
His continuous fight against corruption, including pork barrel in all its iterations, earned him the degree of Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa, from the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila in March 2019.
On Feb. 19, 2022, Lacson received from his Alma Mater, the Philippine Military Academy, the Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his "more than 50 years of dedicated, exemplary and unblemished service to the country characterized by his faithful adherence to the virtues of Courage, Loyalty and Integrity."
Lacson first earned a tough, no-nonsense reputation while serving in the Philippine National Police: solving high-profile crimes including kidnap-for-ransom cases in the 1980s and 1990s; and reviving the PNP’s glory days as Chief, PNP from 1999 to 2001.
During his term as PNP Chief, Lacson led by example as he instituted a no-take policy and a fitness program, while cleansing the police force of “scalawags in uniform” (a.k.a. kotong cops) – initiatives that earned the PNP the highest public approval ratings in its history.
When he got his first mandate in the Senate in 2001, Lacson went to work on righting another wrong: taking down the multibillion-peso pork barrel system, which has bedeviled the national budget, the lifeblood of the nation.
Ten years before the multibillion-peso Priority Development Assistance Fund (pork) scam exploded, Lacson already detailed in a March 2003 privilege speech how public funds were pocketed via PDAF.
He also had his PhP200-million-a-year PDAF allocations returned to the National Treasury, saving the government PhP2.4 billion in 12 years.
Lacson was the principal sponsor and one of the authors of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 (Republic Act 11479), which gives Philippine authorities much-needed legal tools to strengthen their efforts against the menace of terrorism.
Lacson was the principal sponsor of the National ID Law (Republic Act 11055), which provides for easier transactions with the government and private entities and which helps deter criminality. Lacson had been a perennial author of the measure since his first term as senator in 2001.
He was one of the principal authors of Joint Resolution 1, which sought to authorize the increase in the base pay of military and other uniformed personnel (MUP) in the government. Among those who benefit from the increase of the base pay are the retired MUP of the Armed Forces of the Philippines – General Headquarters (AFP- GHQ), Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).
Also, Lacson authored and sponsored Republic Act 11053, The Anti-Hazing Law of 2018, which provides heavier penalties that would prevent hazing-related deaths.
Lacson authored and sponsored as well Republic Act 9485, the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007, which brings down the number of steps and days involved in a government transaction, and in turn paves the way for efficient and expeditious public service.
Other key measures authored, sponsored or co-authored by Lacson from the 12th to 17th Congresses include:
* Republic Act 11279: Act Transferring the Training of Police Recruits from the Philippine Public Safety College to the Philippine National Police
* Republic Act 11200: An Act Providing for Rank Classification in the Philippine National Police
* Republic Act 11059: An Act Establishing a Retirement Benefit System in the Office of the Ombudsman * Republic Act 10973: Restoring the Subpoena Powers of the PNP-CIDG
* Republic Act 10969: The Free Irrigation Law
* Republic Act 10927: Amending the Anti-Money Laundering Act to Include Casinos as ‘Covered Persons’ * Republic Act 10591: An Act Providing for a Comprehensive Law on Firearms, Light Weapons and Ammunition
* Republic Act 10354: the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012
* Republic Act 10351: The Sin Tax Reform Law
* Republic Act 10349: An Act Amending the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program
* Republic Act 10167: An Act to Further Strengthen the Anti-Money Laundering Law
* Republic Act 9160 (as amended by RA 9194): Anti-Money Laundering Act
* Republic Act 9165: Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002
* Republic Act 9163: National Service Training Program Act of 2001
* Republic Act 9166: An Act Increasing the Base Pay of the Members of the AFP
* Republic Act 9208: Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003
* Republic Act 9416: Anti-Cheating Act of 2007
* Republic Act 9484: The Philippine Dental Act of 2007
Lacson also authored bills to curb criminality and corruption; and to streamline the bureaucracy, including:
* the proposed Budget Reform for Village Empowerment Act
* the proposed Expanded Anti-Wiretapping Act
* a bill requiring the registration of prepaid subscriber identity module (SIM) cards to prevent scams and crimes involving identity theft
* a bill imposing heavier penalties on those giving false testimonies
* a bill that offers substantial rewards and better protection to witnesses testifying against government officials or employees involved in corruption
* a bill that strips drug pushers, manufacturers, cultivators, importers and financiers of their rights under the Bank Secrecy Act, so they can no longer hide their ill-gotten money in banks.
Lacson has been unflinching in his fight against corruption and wrongdoings, exposing – as well as calling for investigations of – anomalous activities in the government, such as:
* irregularities in the Philippine government’s deal with Argentine firm Industrias Metalurgicas Pescarmona Sociedad Anonima (IMPSA)
* the money-laundering scheme by one “Jose Pidal”
* the continued operations of jueteng in the country
* diversion of P728 million in fertilizer funds engineered by one Jocjoc Bolante
* the “Hello Garci” tapes indicating cheating in the 2004 elections
* alleged overpricing involving the decorative lampposts used in the Asean summit in Cebu City
* plight of Filipino nurses recruited by Sentosa Recruitment Agency
* alleged bribery in the failed impeachment bid against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
* the botched $329-million contract between the Philippine government and China’s ZTE for a national broadband network project
* irregularities in the multibillion-peso Quedancor swine program
* the “chopper scam” where secondhand helicopters were sold as brand-new to the Philippine National Police
* a plan by the Social Security System to channel workers’ pension funds into a government economic stimulus program
* alleged irregularities in the purchase of video equipment for the Senate’s Public Relations and Information Bureau
* the “tara list” and payola (payoffs) in the Bureau of Customs
* pork barrel in its various incarnations
In the 17th Congress, Lacson’s tenacity remained strong in abolishing the unconstitutional pork barrel and its many evil incarnates in the national budget. In a sequel of his 2003 speech, he detailed in a 2019 privilege speech, “Living Without Pork II,” a reinvention of pork barrel allocations in the pork-ridden, cholesterol-rich 2019 budget, particularly those lodged in the budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
Among the many questionable appropriations exposed by Senator Lacson was the billions of “pork insertions” of Congressmen realigned to fund programs and projects under the then proposed 2019 Budget. The said “pork” was among the P95 billion in appropriations vetoed by President Rodrigo Duterte in Republic Act No. 11260, or the General Appropriations Act of 2019.
In the 18th Congress, Lacson chairs the Senate Committees on National Defense and Security and Accounts. He is a member of several Senate committees, a list of which can be accessed here.
The first batch of bills Lacson filed in the current Congress include the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2019, the Budget Reform for Village Empowerment Act of 2019, and a bill ensuring people’s participation in the budget process.
He also re-filed a bill excluding government officials from the Bank Secrecy Act, the Prepaid SIM Cards Regulations Act of 2019, a bill reinstituting the death penalty for heinous crimes, a bill imposing heavier penalties on lying witnesses, and the proposed Anti-Political Dynasty Act of 2019.
A full list of Lacson’s legislative output in the 18th Congress may be found here.
Philippine National Police Chief
Before the Senate, Lacson served in the PNP, heading it from 1999 to 2001. He went after criminals, including rogue cops. He had 85 percent of resources go to frontline units, and imposed a 34-inch waistline limit for police officers.
More importantly, Lacson led by example, refusing bribes and declining “rewards” from rescued kidnap-for-ransom victims. Under Lacson, the PNP – and Lacson – scored very high approval ratings.
Yolanda (Haiyan) Rehabilitation
Lacson also served as Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery, coordinating efforts to help victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda.
Despite the limitations and difficulties encountered in terms of support from the national government, Lacson and his staff managed to put together the Yolanda Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan (CRRP), which detailed institutional arrangements, including public-private partnerships; and cluster structures for infrastructure, social services, resettlement, livelihood and support.
The CRRP also detailed rehabilitation and recovery plans for local governments, as well as guidelines for engaging with the non-government sector.