MANILA - Is Panfilo Lacson quitting politics soon?
That seems to be the sentiment of the former senator and now Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery as he concentrates on helping the victims of the supertyphoon.
Speaking to Mornings@ANC, Lacson said his current sentiment is to retire from politics by 2016. "Right now, that is my sentiment or attitude. Pagod na. Kapuy na," he said.
Lacson said one reason why a 2016 bid is not attractive at the moment is because of the ongoing controversy over the alleged misuse of Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) of lawmakers.
Lacson, who was elected senator in 2001, had refused to accept his pork barrel funds from the start. He said in a privilege speech that the funds had corrupted legislators.
At least 38 people including three senators - Jinggoy Estrada, Bong Revilla and Juan Ponce Enrile - are currently facing plunder, malversation and bribery charges before the Office of the Ombudsman for alleged misuse of billions in pork barrel funds.
Lacson said he continues to support the ongoing Senate Blue Ribbon Committee investigation on the scam since so much information is being uncovered in the probe.
He said that when he watches the Blue Ribbon Committee hearings, "I always talk to myself but I direct it at them. I say: 'I told you so.'"
Lacson said rumors that he might run for President or return to the Senate are just speculations.
He said his goal as head of the rehabilitation efforts in Yolanda-hit areas is to finish 85%-90% of the rehabilitation by 2016.
"When you think of these things when you are handling a job like this, then you are distracted. I have always been focused. When I was chief of the [Philippine National Police], I was only thinking of the PNP," he said.
Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago earlier warned Filipinos to see through politicians’ masks so that they would know whom to vote for in 2016.
She also criticized Lacson for being called a rehabilitation czar "when the person is only a presidential assistant."
For his part, Lacson said he has no pretensions since he is not running for president in 2016.
“I’m not a presidential aspirant. I have no pretensions… I am focused on my job and that’s it. What you see is what you get."