Press Release
July 1, 2007


With the opening of the 14th Congress less than a month away, Senator Panfilo M. Lacson will seek anew the passage of previously proposed legislations, which inopportunely became `sleeping bills' during his first term in the Senate.

Senator Lacson, who said good governance and public accountability would remain his top priority, said he will re-file a bill seeking to exclude all government employees -- from top bureaucrats down the messengerial level -- from the Bank Secrecy Act.

He said this would efficiently plug the hole in graft investigations involving people in government posts.

"This bill is basically premised on the principle that a public office is a public trust. I already filed such a bill in the 12th and 13th Congresses, but it never got past the first reading. It never even merited committee hearings. But it is a measure worth re-filing because once you enter government service, as President or clerk or even a janitor, you should not hide behind the provisions of the Bank Secrecy Act," he said.

He said senator-elect and fellow "Cavalier" Antonio Trillanes IV plans to file a similar bill.

Under Senator Lacson's version of the proposed measure, government officials facing investigation are excluded from the protection of the Bank Secrecy Act, to allow probers to look into their bank accounts for signs of graft.

Another priority legislation of Senator Lacson is to amend Republic Act 4200 or the Anti-Wiretapping Act to include the crimes of coup d'etat, conspiracy to commit coup d'etat, robbery in band, highway robbery, violation of anti-drug laws, and money laundering in the list of offenses covered by the law.

"I see the need to amend this old law with the advancement of technology that is available being taken advantage of by criminals and terrorists," Senator Lacson said.

On population growth, Senator Lacson said he would push anew the granting of incentives to couples who limit the number of their children to two, adding this would help slow down the population boom and ensure that resources are enough to sustain the populace. "This bill will also help care for the mothers' reproductive health," he said.

Senator Lacson also listed as his priority a bill upgrading the benefits and incentives of barangay officials and watchmen who had rendered at least one year of service. "They are our first line of defense against criminality and yet they receive measly amounts for their day to day operations," he explained.

On a larger scale, Senator Lacson has prepared a government salary rationalization bill to keep salaries of government employees at par with counterparts in the private sector.

"With the present salary system, the government cannot hope to attract competent public servants," he said in extenuating the need for the said measure.

As for education, Senator Lacson said he would file a bill that would go hand in hand with the Department of Education's plan to include computer education in elementary schools. "We're already in the age of information technology. It's high time children learn and hone their computer skills early," he said.

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