Ping Lacson has served in the legislative and executive branches of the government for over 40 years. He is currently serving his third term in the Senate.
Lacson has authored laws such as the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, the Philippine Identification System Act of 2018, and the Reproductive Health Act of 2011. He has long served as a watchdog on the national budget, pushing to delete pork barrel and other questionable insertions during plenary Senate debates.
Prior to becoming a lawmaker, he served as chief of the Philippine National Police from 1999 to 2001. He started his career in law enforcement in 1971 as a member of the infamous Metrocom Intelligence Security Group that was responsible for the disappearances and torture of activists and critics of ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Lacson denies that he ever took part in the MISG’s nefarious activities, maintaining that he worked on cases involving kidnap for ransom, holdups, and common crimes as a member of the unit’s police branch.
He also launched a failed bid for the presidency in 2004.
If elected, Lacson vows to restore public trust in government by improving the country’s pandemic response, purging the bureaucracy of corrupt officials, and allowing local governments more autonomy.
Ping Lacson Profiles
Full Name: Panfilo “Ping” Morena Lacson
Birthdate: June 1, 1948 (Age 74)
Birthplace: Imus, Cavite
Languages Spoken: Filipino, English, understands Bisaya
Buenaventura Lacson, father, jeepney driver
Maxima Morena, mother, market vendor
Marital Status: Married, Alice de Perio
Ronald Jay Lacson
Panfilo Lacson Jr.
- Bachelor of Science, Philippine Military Academy, 1971
- Master in Government Management, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila,1996
- Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, 2019
- Senator, 2001 to 2013; 2016 to present
- Presidential Assistant on Rehabilitation and Recovery, 2013 to 2015
- Director General, Philippine National Police, Nov. 16, 1999 to Jan. 20, 2001
- Chief, Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force, June 26, 1998 to Jan. 21, 2001
- Project Officer, Special Project Alpha, 1996 to April 1997
- Chief, Task Force Habagat, Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, 1992 to 1995
- Provincial Director, Laguna, PC, February to July, 1992
- Commander, Cebu Metrodiscom, 1989 to 1992
- Provincial Commander, Isabela PC, 1988 to 1989
- Philippine Constabulary Integrated National Police Anti Carnapping Task Force, 1986 to 1988
- Metrocom Intelligence and Security Group, 1971 to 1986
From 1971 to 1986, Ping Lacson was part of the Metrocom Intelligence Security Group and was identified by American historian Alfred McCoy as among the operatives who “tortured together for over a decade, forming a tight faction that would rise together within the police after Marcos’s downfall.”
Ping Lacson denies this and claims that McCoy incorrectly generalized the entire Philippine Military Academy Class of 1971 as complicit in the human rights violations perpetrated during the Marcos regime. He has also said that he was assigned to the police branch of the MISG which was focused on criminality and not the security branch that was assigned to insurgency and other security concerns.
Murder charges have twice been filed against Lacson throughout his law enforcement career: the first was in 1995 over the gunning down of 11 members of Kuratong Baleleng Syndicate and the second in 2010 over the murder of publicist Salvador Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito.
Both cases were eventually dismissed by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 81 and the Court of Appeals, respectively. The dismissals were also upheld by the Supreme Court.
Before he was cleared by the CA, Lacson evaded arrest by fleeing the country for over a year. Former intelligence officers Cesar Mancao and Victor Corpus have since apologized for implicating Lacson in the Dacer-Corbito murder case.
As the country’s top cop, Lacson sought to expel kotong (bribery or extortion) culture from the Philippine National Police. This was in line with his own “no-take” policy as a member of the police force, refusing rewards from the numerous families of kidnap-for-ransom victims that he rescued and rejecting bribes from gambling groups.
As a senator, Lacson is known as a fierce watchdog against dubious insertions and needless appropriations in the national budget. He has also authored at least 29 laws in the three terms he has served in the Senate including the Anti-Hazing Act of 2018 and the Reproductive Health Act of 2011. He co-authored at least three others.
Among the laws he both authored and principally sponsored is the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 which seeks to prevent, prohibit, and penalize terrorism.
Several petitions assailing the constitutionality of the law were filed following its passage on the grounds of broadness, overreach, and vagueness, particularly in its definition of terrorism and acts of terrorism.
Petitioners further alleged that the law violates freedom of expression, association and religion as well as the rights of the accused protected under the 1987 Constitution. Critics of the law fear abuse of the sweeping definitions, the broad powers granted to the Anti-Terror Council and other authorities, as well as provisions allowing prolonged detention for those arrested without a warrant.
On Dec. 9, 2021, the Supreme Court upheld the validity of all but two portions of two provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Act. Lacson has said that the ruling is a win for him and other supporters of the law. Addressing criticism of the measure, he previously vowed dogged oversight over its implementation and said he would join protests on the streets if the law was ever abused.
Two Aeta farmers were the first to be charged under the law for alleged violation of Section 4. They were detained for a year before a court ruled that prosecution evidence was insufficient.
Early life and education
Panfilo Morena Lacson was born in Imus, Cavite on June 1, 1948. His late mother, Maxima, a market vendor, was a disciplinarian who instilled distinctions between right and wrong with her children.
He finished grade school at the Bayang Luma Elementary School in 1960 and high school at the Imus Institute in 1964. While Lacson initially wanted to be an agent of the National Bureau of Investigation, he was invited by a classmate to take the entrance exams at the Philippine Military Academy. Lacson passed but the classmate who invited him did not.
After his graduation from the PMA in 1971, Lacson was commissioned in the Philippine Constabulary (PC), then a major service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) responsible for maintaining peace and order and enforcement of laws in the country.
In 1996, he earned a postgraduate degree of Master in Government Management from the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila.
Meanwhile, Lacson’s advocacy against the pork barrel system and the corruption associated with him was cited by the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila when it conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa, on March 27, 2019.
Lacson also received from the Philippine Military Academy the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award on Feb. 19, 2022, 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.”
Ping Lacson was appointed by then President Joseph Estrada to head the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF) and to serve as Philippine National Police Chief. Lacson’s notable accomplishments were the reduction of corrupt policemen (Kotong Cops) and various organized crime syndicates engaged in kidnapping, drug trafficking, and other illegal activities. From April 30 to May 1, 2001, together with Juan Ponce Enrile, Gregorio Honasan, Miriam Defensor Santiago and Tito Sotto, he led the EDSA III protests against Gloria M. Arroyo. On May 1, 2001, the protesters stormed Malacañang Palace.[
Ping Lacson ran for senator in the 2001 elections under the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP), which was affiliated with Estrada’s Puwersa ng Masa coalition. He won a seat in the Senate, finishing in tenth place.
In late 2006, Ping Lacson said he might run as mayor of the city of Manila in the 2007 midterm elections. However, he rescinded that decision and instead ran for a second Senate term under the Genuine Opposition coalition. He won reelection in the 2007 senatorial elections senatorial elections, ranking third.
On March 11, 2003, Ping Lacson delivered a speech entitled Living Without Pork, exposing the evils and temptations presented by the pork barrel system, and called for its total abolition. During deliberations on the national budget, he stated he would make sure his PDAF allocation reverted to the National Treasury – in the process saving the government some PhP2.4 billion during his first 12 years in the Senate.
Lacson’s advocacy against the pork barrel system and the corruption associated with him was cited by the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila when it conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa, on March 27, 2019.
Meanwhile, his Alma Mater, the Philippine Military Academy, conferred on him on Feb. 19, 2022 the Lifetime Achievement Award citing 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.”
Ping Lacson filed bills that aimed to improve public service, enhance reproductive health, promote investments, bolster the country’s defense capabilities,
He was one of the main authors of two legislative measures of the Aquino administration, one of which was the Reproductive Health Act. The measure seeks to promote responsible parenthood and to protect the health of the mother and child by giving them access to reproductive health services. President Benigno Aquino III certified the bill as urgent, allowing Congress to pass it quickly. President Aquino signed it into law as Republic Act 10354 in December 2012.
Another legislative measure where Ping Lacson was a main author was the Sin Tax Reform Act, which imposes higher taxes on tobacco and alcohol products to deter the public from buying such products. Those who buy such products will have to pay higher taxes, whose proceeds will go to the government’s universal health program.
For the Sin Tax Reform Act, Lacson had filed Senate Bill No. 2763, which sought to restructure the excise tax on alcohol products; and Senate Bill No. 2764, which sought to restructure the excise tax on tobacco products. President Aquino signed the bill into law as Republic Act 10351.
Lacson authored Senate Bill No. 2783, which strengthened further the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001. His work is now part of Republic Act No. 10167, which was approved and signed into law on June 18, 2012.
Lacson authored an amendment to the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Act, which aims to provide more funds to the military. President Aquino signed the measure as Republic Act 10349 on December 11, 2012.
Lacson filed Senate Bill No. 2993, An Act Providing for a comprehensive law on firearms, light weapons and ammunitions, which was signed into law as Republic Act 10591.
Lacson authored the law converting Imus, Cavite from a municipality into a city. The measure became Republic Act No. 10161 on May 8, 2012.
Lacson filed Senate Bill No. 2945, which reapportioned the province of Cotabato into three legislative districts. The bill was passed into law as Republic Act 10177.
He filed resolutions that led to many officials being held accountable, whether incumbent or former. Among these were:
Resolution No. 518: Directing the Blue Ribbon Committee to look into the alleged anomalous acquisition by the Philippine National Police of light operational helicopters in 2009. The resolution triggered an investigation that led to the filing of criminal charges against the officials and personalities linked to the questionable purchase. Some of them were dismissed from the service.
Resolution No. 519: Directing the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to look into corruption by the previous board of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. Many of the officials linked to the irregularity – including former president Gloria Arroyo – have been charged before the graft court.
Resolution No. 537: Directing the Blue Ribbon Committee to investigate electoral sabotage in the 2004 and 2007 elections, which triggered the charges that led to the arrest and detention of former officials, including former president Gloria Arroyo.
Another resolution, Resolution No. 660, seeks to congratulate new Cardinal and Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle.
Lacson filed resolutions commending members of the police and military for safeguarding Filipinos, including:
Resolution No. 542: Resolution honoring The Outstanding Philippine Soldiers (TOPS) of 2011
Resolution No. 562: Resolution commending the Country’s Outstanding Policemen in Service (COPS) of 2011
As fiscalizer in the Senate, Lacson initiated the investigation of the following:
- IMPSA investigation – 2002
- Jose Pidal investigation – 2003
- Jueteng investigation – 2005
- Textbook Scam investigation – 2006 – 2007
- Flight of Filipino nurses recruited by Sentosa Recruitment Agency – 2007
- Alleged bribery in the failed impeachment bid against President Arroyo – 2007
- Overpricing in the decorative lampposts used in the Asean summit in Cebu City – 2007
- Irregularities in the multibillion-peso Quedancor swine program – 2008
- Plan by the Social Security System to channel workers’ pension funds into a government economic stimulus program – 2009
- Alleged irregularities in the purchase of video equipment for the Senate’s Public Relations and Information Bureau – 2009
Ping Lacson originally planned to run for president in the 2016 election. However, due to low ratings in most pre-election presidential surveys, he decided to run for a senate seat as an independent candidate in the 2016 Philippine general election. He was a guest candidate in the senatorial slates of presidential candidates Jejomar Binay (UNA) and Mar Roxas (LP). He was initially listed in Senator Grace Poe’s senatorial lineup, but he was eventually replaced by Edu Manzano. He was also listed in Rodrigo Duterte’s (PDP–Laban) senatorial slate. However, on February 15, 2016, the Duterte-Cayetano tandem dropped their entire senatorial lineup.
Ping Lacson, who endorsed former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas’ presidential campaign, garnered around 17 million votes in the 2016 elections, earning his way to a Senate seat by ranking fourth in terms of total votes.
In the 17th Congress, Lacson filed Senate Bill 41, the National Reference Act of 2016, which seeks to establish a National ID system that can help government law enforcers deter criminality and terrorism by facilitating the processes of apprehension and prosecution. The system seeks to address the problems of constant delays and inconveniences in availing of basic public services and social security benefits due to inefficient and unreliable means of identifying the beneficiaries. The bill was signed into law as RA 11055 in late 2018.
Lacson filed Senate Bill 42, penalizing a wide range of crimes ranging from drug-related offenses to treason, terrorism, and human trafficking.
Lacson filed Senate Bill 48, which seeks to amend Republic Act 4200 to update the list of crimes where wiretapping may be deemed lawful under certain circumstances. The measure may give law enforcers more teeth against crimes like drugs, money-laundering and coups. On October 19, 2016, Lacson sponsored Senate Bill 1210, the proposed Expanded Anti-Wiretapping Act of 2016.
Other bills filed by Lacson include:
- Senate Bill 258, which offers substantial rewards and better protection to witnesses in exchange for coming out and testifying against government officials or employees involved in corruption.
- Senate Bill 1025, which 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 filed bills to ensure professionalism among law enforcers, including:
- Senate Bills 255 and 266, which provide added benefits to barangay tanods and captains.
- Senate Bill 260, which provides for special financial assistance for families or beneficiaries of police and military personnel, jail officers and firefighters killed or incapacitated in the line of duty.
- Senate Bill 971, which provides guidelines on the selection of provincial commanders and city and town chiefs of police.
- Senate Bill 1052, which seeks to restore subpoena powers to the PNP’s CIDG. This was signed into law as RA 10973.
- Senate Bill 1310, which gives the Philippine National Police’s Internal Affairs Service more teeth to curb abuses and further enhance discipline in the police agency.
He filed bills seeking to streamline or update the operations of government agencies, including:
- Senate Bill 1470, which updates the charter of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office to help it keep up with new variations of lotteries and make it more accountable.
- Senate Bill 1471, which addresses Pagcor’s “conflicting” roles of regulating and operating gambling casinos by having the agency focus on regulating the industry and giving up its role as operator of such establishments.
But Lacson went after abusive law enforcers, including some rogue cops who took advantage of the government’s anti-drug war. At a Senate hearing on January 28, 2017, the former Lacson showed a video of police officers in civilian clothing, appearing to plant evidence in an anti-drug operation – to stress his call for internal cleansing in the PNP.
In the 18th Congress, Lacson filed Senate Bill 23, the Budget Reform for Village Empowerment Act of 2016. The bill seeks to give local government units an active role in nation building by providing them with funding for development projects.
Lacson re-filed in the 18th Congress his bills on anti-terrorism (Senate Bill 21) and anti-wiretapping (Senate Bill 22). Of the two, the Anti-Terrorism bill became part of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte on July 3, 2020. Other bills Lacson re-filed included:
- Senate Bill 24, which encourages people’s participation in deliberations on the national budget to prevent pork.
- Senate Bill 25, which requires registration of prepaid SIM cards to prevent scams and crimes involving identity theft.
- Senate Bill 26, which excludes government employees, including the President, from protection of the Philippine Bank Secrecy Act.
- Senate Bill 27, which reimposes the death penalty on heinous crimes.
- Senate Bill 28, which imposes heavier penalties on false testimonies.
- Senate Bill 29, which assures that parents who enter their twilight years will get support from their children.
- Senate Bill 30, the proposed Anti-Political Dynasty Act.
- Senate Bill 246, the Real Property Valuation and Assessment Reform Act.
- Senate Bill 247, the Anti-Contraband in Prison Act of 2019.
- Senate Bill 248, Whistleblower Act of 2019.
- Senate Bill 249, The National Defense Act of 2019.
- Senate Bill 250, The Land Administration Reform Act of 2019.
- Senate Bill 251, The Local Government Units’ Income Classification Act of 2019.
- Senate Bill 252, Additional Barangay Captains’ Insurance Act of 2019.
- Senate Bill 253, Upgrading the Benefits and Incentives of Barangay Tanods.
- Senate Bill 254, An Act Establishing the PAF Academy and Appropriating Funds Therefor.
- Senate Bill 255, Exemptions in Requirements for Conversion of a Municipality into a Component City.