Senatorial hopeful Jopet Sison wants federalization, 'democratized' natl budget

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 22) — Senatorial aspirant Jopet Sison of Aksyon Demokratiko will push for a federal government and a more transparent national budget if he wins a seat in the upper chamber next year.

Speaking to CNN Philippines' New Day on Friday, Sison shared his legislative agenda which includes espousing "transparency" and "devolution" to provide a government that is more responsive to the people.

"A major amendment will be a constitutional change in the form of government, specifically pertaining to...the federalized government so we can provide a government near the people," Sison said.

He underscored the need for lawmakers to provide amendments on how to present a "democratized" national budget which would involve the public when it comes to scrutinizing government allocations.

"There's so much talk on transparency in this budget that it's high time we provide amendments in terms of presentation of the budget," Sison noted.

"The issue of pork barrel can really be resolved through transparency by coming up with a democratized budget, where it is open for every Filipino to scrutinize and to view so specific line items in the budget would be easily available and we can avoid lump sum creations, irregularities, corruption," he added.

Sison will also push for housing reforms in the Senate, having served as assistant general manager of the National Housing Authority from 2001 to 2005, then president of the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation from 2006 to 2012.

A former Quezon City chairman ​of the Liberal Party, he ​ran for the city's second highest post under PDP-Laban in 2019 but lost to Vice Mayor Gian Sotto. He was also a 4th District councilor from 1992 to 1998.

"As to qualification, I think I can do the job," said Sison. "As to winnability, of course I am banking on name recognition based on my experience in politics and the services we've rendered through the program 'Ipaglaban Mo.'"

He co-hosts the ABS-CBN legal drama with his father, Atty. Jose Sison.

Sison has replaced veteran broadcaster Noli De Castro in the senatorial slate after the latter withdrew his candidacy.

He denied there is "bad blood" within Aksyon Demokratiko with some members quitting the party recently.

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno's chief of staff Cesar Chavez left his post earlier this month to return to broadcasting while former solicitor general Florin Hilbay also quit the party to support Vice President Leni Robredo's presidential campaign.