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Ping on anti-kotong drive: Start at Palace

Start in your own backyard, Ma’am.

Opposition Sen. Panfilo Lacson yesterday challenged President Arroyo to start her anti-corruption efforts inside Malacañang, where congressmen and governors were reported to have received from P200,000 to P500,000, allegedly as “bribe money,” at the height of the moves to oust Speaker Jose de Venecia last month.

Lacson was reacting to the President’s move to stamp out corruption in the government by starting at the street level through the drive against kotong (extortionist) cops and colorum vehicles, a campaign similar to what he initiated during his stint as Philippine National Police chief under the administration of former President Joseph Estrada.

Lacson said the President “hit the nail right on the head” when she re-launched efforts to address mulcting activities of some corrupt traffic officers on the streets, but stressed that this is not enough.

“While I agree that she hit the nail right on the head by making it a parallel effort, I am tempted to give this piece of unsolicited advice to make it succeed – Start with kotong right inside Malacañang or it will get nowhere in this new effort,” Lacson said.

Lacson gave Mrs. Arroyo his unsolicited advice amidst the call of an administration congressman for the President to address the worsening incidence of corruption in the country.

Manila Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr., in a privilege speech delivered early this week, has urged Mrs. Arroyo to convene an anti-corruption summit composed of representatives from the religious sector, academe, business, legal sector, youth sector and civil society.

Abante has admitted receiving P500,000 at a meeting in Malacañang last Oct. 11.

“I ask the President to convene an anti-corruption summit. This is a gargantuan task that needs the vigilant, collaborative effort of all sectors of our society,” Abante said.

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