Among the issues President Aquino failed to discuss in his fourth State of the Nation Address was the one thing the nation was talking about: the P10-billion pork barrel scandal. A word or two from the President about the state of the ongoing investigation, perhaps in the same way he commented on the ongoing investigation into the Ozamiz Gang extrajudicial killings, would have been a welcome intervention. That he didn’t say a word points to the real scandal: the perpetuation of the congressional pork barrel system itself, which is prone to corruption.

We should restate that. The pork barrel is an invitation to corruption.

There are examples of pork barrel funds being put to good use: school buildings built for much less than standard government rates; highways and farm-to-market roads completed under budget and in full; bridges that actually lead somewhere. And lawmakers with unmanufactured receipts.

But consider the idea itself: Senators have P200 million every year, or P1.2 billion per term, at their disposal. In the House of Representatives, congressmen can look forward to as much as P70 million every year, or P210 million per three-year term.

Although there are safeguards in place, and even arguing that those safeguards work as designed, the notion that winning candidates for Congress have hundreds of millions of pesos to dispose of is unsettling, and even counterdemocratic.

We realize that there is a ready counterargument for this: Isn’t involving hundreds of lawmakers in the task of spending government funds an exercise in democracy? But in reality the pool of politicians who can win a seat in Congress is very limited indeed.

The main reason is financial: Except for the occasional maverick, one needs millions of pesos to mount a successful campaign for Congress. How will that investment be recovered? Through the use of the pork barrel system.

Is it any wonder that at least five senators and over a score of congressmen have been alleged to be both clients and beneficiaries of businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles’ elaborate scheme? And those are only the ones the six whistle-blowers have implicated. Almost any of us who has an interest in politics has heard of lawmakers expecting or receiving commissions from public works projects. The number, in other words, almost certainly goes much higher.

The proposed budget for the next year includes some P27 billion in pork barrel monies, classified under the Priority Development Assistance Fund. To be sure, this is only about one percent of the entire budget.

And Budget Secretary Florencio Abad has vowed to make the process even more transparent. “Unlike in the past when only the ‘soft’ portion was in the budget and the ‘hard’ portion was tucked in” in government agencies, the new budget proposal shows the “whole and complete PDAF,” he said. “The P27-billion PDAF is provided and that is a special line item for PDAF in this budget.”

We also note that Malacañang is mulling new measures to make sure that every use of the pork barrel meets the strictest criteria and the country’s true needs. There is a plan, for example, for the Department of Social Welfare and Development to scrutinize nongovernment organizations implementing PDAF projects.

“We are still in the process of determining whether our role will be limited only to registration or expanded to include accreditation and licensing [of the NGOs],” Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman told the Inquirer.

Unfortunately, all this strikes us as a valiant but ultimately vain attempt to plug all the holes in the PDAF dike. The entire structure is designed to leak.

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Short URL: http://opinion.inquirer.net/?p=57415

Tags: 2014 budget , corruption , editorial , Government , opinion , pork barrel scam

  • Rolly Javier

    No president can eliminate pork barrel…even Jojo Binay if ever he becomes president. Pork barrel is an institutionalized form of bribery and our politician would surely fight against its abolition. The media has all the power to influence the sentiment of the public that would lead a popular clamor for its abolition.

  • mike8232

    Abnoy has no moral ascendancy to speak about the pork barrel – he was a congressman once and lavished on it. Abad used to be congressman.

    All these mother f@ckers enjoyed the perks of pork.

    The only justice to be obtained of these crooks if they will not remove pork is vigilantism. Hunt down these senators and congressmen involved in the pork barrel scam and make them pay in blood. People have suffered long enough while these @ssholes use up taxpayers money

    If pork is not removed then the rhetoric of Tuwid na daan is nothing – it is a tuwid na daan to nowhere- a road straight to hell with abnoy!

  • indiosbravos2002

    Abolishing the PDAF will make congress less significant and influential to their constituents. However, this will also weed out the bad politicians who is just there for the money. Moreover, with a position that has little financial reward, we will see an influx of public servants who are really willing to serve the public by making legislation, instead of projects which the executive should be handling.

  • walang pakundangan

    dapat hindi hahawak ng pera ang mambabatas. treasurer lang ang taga hawak ng pera huwag nating gawing katiwaldas ang mga mambabatas…..iilan lang talaga sa kanila ang matino sa paggamit ng PDAF o pork barrel

  • bicolokano

    “A word or two from the President about the state of the ongoing investigation, perhaps in the same way he commented on the ongoing investigation into the Ozamiz Gang extrajudicial killings, would have been a welcome intervention. That he didn’t say a word points to the real scandal: the perpetuation of the congressional pork barrel system itself, which is prone to corruption.”

    AHA! dapat kasi naglinis ng tenga bago nananood ng SONA..

    “Sa usaping Cadavero, PDAF, MRT 3, at iba pa: Dahil hindi alam ng ilang kritiko ang ginagawa namin, palagay nila wala kaming ginagawa sa mga isyung ito. Kung wala pang tangan na datos ang gobyerno at ipagsigawan naming, “Iimbestigahan namin kayo,” di ba’t para na rin naming sinabi sa mga kakasuhan na, “Paki tago naman po ng mahusay ang lahat ng ebidensya?” Kaya: tutungo tayo kung saan tayo ituturo ng katotohanan; ebidensya ang magdidikta sa ating mga hakbang.”

    O ayan.. ^_^

  • koolkid_inthehouse

    scam, scam… what scam?

  • Mamang Pulis

    luko loko ka talaga—nakatira ka na naman ng katol!

  • vince_bugaboo

    Ha, ha, ha! ‘lang-hiya ka talaga, “retard!” I think you are one highly-educated “summabitz”; I can discern that thru your posts, but, sorry, your palpable hate to pnoy makes you less likeable, even abhorrent to some.

  • Eustaquio Joven

    I like you approach. It exposes the less endowed.

  • kayanatwo


    hey tard, if your mom still suffering “from leak”, go to merc drug and buy (if you can without an RX) ceftriaxone 125 mg or cefixime 400 mg. to be taken orally.

    the meds might help her and you too. and pls. tell your mom to keep her undies from now on?????

  • clanwolf

    Hahaha. Kris couldnt keep her legs closed even if you bind it with a metal hoop. She is one slutty nympho.

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