As I See It

People mad at Aquino for not abolishing pork

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Headline: (Janet Lim-) Napoles owns 28 houses (in the Philippines).

Wrong. She owns 30, including the “Upper House” (Senate) and the House of Representatives.

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One Luis Abalos, who is neither a senator nor a congressman, got P20 million in pork barrel funds.

Are you still surprised? Janet Lim-Napoles, who is also not a senator or a congresswoman, got P10 billion in pork.

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Former representative Manuel “Way Kurat” Zamora of Compostela, hailed in the past as the “poorest congressman,” could turn out to be one of the richest. According to the Commission on Audit (COA), he received P3.114 billion in pork allocations in his last three years in Congress. He couldn’t explain how and why he could have gotten that much, saying his total allocation for those three years was only P210 million.

Possible explanation: Somebody else got the money but recorded it in his name.

* * *

It’s turning out that one of the biggest culprits in the pork barrel scams that involve bogus nongovernment organizations (NGOs) is the Department of Budget and Management. Through the years, the department has been playing fast and loose with the people’s money. It was so easy to get the DBM to release funds for fake NGOs. All that Napoles’ employees had to do was call Leah, Lalaine and Malou at the DBM and the pork barrel funds would be released quickly, according to whistle-blowers Benhur K. Luy and Merlina Suñas.

Confronted with the COA findings that the DBM released pork funds to individual congressmen in excess of the P70-million-a-year limit for each, Rep. Rolando Andaya, the budget secretary during the Arroyo administration, said there was no limit to the pork barrel allocations at the time. Which means, the pork scam may be much, much bigger than the P10-billion loot that Napoles’ bogus NGOs got, considering that the COA audited only three years of pork releases, during which it discovered other bogus NGOs that got bigger pork allocations than Napoles’ NGOs.

On the other hand, President Aquino’s budget secretary, former representative Florencio Abad, increased the pork barrel budget instead of decreasing it in the wake of the people’s strong clamor for the abolition of the pork barrel system, through which their tax money is being stolen by legislators and their cohorts.

The other big culprit is the President himself. In spite of the anger of the people, his boss, over the pork scams and their clamor to end the thievery by abolishing the system, he wouldn’t stop it although he has the power to do it. It is P-Noy who can quickly abolish the corrupt system, not Congress. Members of Congress will never abolish the system with which they fatten themselves. Even if they are forced to pass a law abolishing it, they would so dilute it with so many amendments, it would be next to useless. The corruption will continue.

On the other hand, all that P-Noy has to do is tell his budget secretary not to include any appropriation for the pork barrel, officially called the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), in the proposed national budget, and that would be the end of it. It’s that easy. Much as it wants to, Congress cannot put it there. Congress can only reduce or abolish proposed budgets but never add to what Malacañang submits to it.

But the DBM has already submitted its proposed budget for 2014, you say. It can always recall that one and submit a new one.

P-Noy’s retort—that “stricter” rules will be put in place—will not end the large-scale theft of the people’s money. The crooks will always find ways to get around the rules. Credit it to the ingenuity of Philippine public officials when it comes to getting their filthy hands

into the Treasury. There will always be other Leahs, Lalaines, and Malous in the DBM.

“Kayo  ang  boss  ko” (You are my bosses),

P-Noy told the people during his first State of the Nation Address. Now his bosses are telling him: “Stop the thievery! Abolish the pork barrel system.” Why is he not obeying his bosses?

Because P-Noy might also be guilty of another crime: bribery. Most contemporary presidents, P-Noy included (there was no pork barrel earlier in our republic; the pork is a fairly recent invention of politicians), used the pork barrel to bribe members of Congress. And cooperative legislators got their pork promptly; uncooperative ones didn’t.

P-Noy may also be afraid that if he abolishes their pork, angry legislators might get back and reduce, even abolish his own pork barrel, the biggest in the national budget.

P-Noy declared a policy of “daang matuwid” (straight, corruption-free road) for his administration, but this straight road is turning out to be a crooked one, where so many crooks are stealing the people’s money.

P-Noy’s bosses are so angry at the corruption that some sectors are threatening a tax revolt if the pork system is not abolished. Why pay taxes when they are stolen by crooks in and out of the government? Taxes are supposed to be returned to the people in the form of services, but they only serve the corrupt. Only the thieves are being assisted by the PDAF.

Members of the clergy, university professors, the youth, people in rural areas, people in cities, even some legislators are angry. They are all begging: “Please, Mr. President, abolish the hated pork barrel.”

Whenever people get together—at parties, wakes, weddings, family gatherings, school reunions, press forums, meetings, etc.—they talk about the pork barrel scams and Napoles. Even taxi and jeepney drivers talk about them. If Napoles were to run for election, she might just win. After all, she is now so well-known, besides having plenty of money.

I am sure that when the next poll survey results are released, P-Noy’s popularity rating will have dropped drastically.

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  • penoykaw

    Social weather stations are also beneficiaries of PDAF of Pnoy.

  • desi derata

    .
    People are angry with the President but they are not angry with the scammers. The scam peaked in the period 2006 – 2009 and only during this presidency, the COA is busy exposing the evil deeds of Enrile, et al.

    Isang tambak kayong mga gunggong!
    .

  • desi derata

    There are a number of demagogues here posting lines of invectives. But in reality they try to put the blame on the honest President instead of the real culprits.

    • albert13

      yes, your president is indeed honestly stupid.

    • Leonardof

      First of all, let me ask you, are you a taxpayer consistently paying your taxes? Think so, you are not?

      People, in particular the taxpayers, are just naturally reacting to the president’s
      witless decision not to scrap the pork barrel funds. Obviously, the people are appalled at his inability to see that the pork barrel has become the most covetted price of politicians, and, not the honor of being in service to the people.

      The people are angry because they felt deceived by Pnoy’s “daang matuwid”. “Daang matuwid” has become a farce.

      • opinon only

        100% agree.

      • Ross

        Whether we admit or not, may magandang side ang PDAF. This time need to regulate and finish up the investigation first. I apreciate this adminstration, madami nag – open up for corruption even mga foreigner

  • Kitkilatis

    PEOPLE SHOULD NOT GET MAD, BUT SHOULD GET EVEN! Asar Talo, di ba?

    Madaling alisin yang Pork-Barrel. Ano kasunod? Palitan ang pangalan? Ilagay sa ibang kamay ang pangangasiwa? Kangino, kay gobernador, kay mayor, kangino? Masusulosyunan ba problema? Hindi pa rin.

    Ang pork-barrel po ay pondong pangtustos sa mga gawain o proyekto nang pamahalaan. Kung hindi naman gagastusin ito para sa mga proyekto, diretso na ito sa bulsa ng mga kawatan sa pamahalaan.

    Ano’t ano pa mang pamamaraan o diskarteng gagawin, wala pa ring magagawa gaano ang mamamayan para ang mga KAWATAN sa pamahalaan ay panagutin at panagutin ng mabilis, dahil sa kawalan ng epektibo at maasahang mekanismo.

    Ito ang problema ng ating bayang magiliw simula pa noong pamahon ng Kastila na nagpatuloy hanggang sa 3rd Philippine Republic (naisahan tayo ng mga Illustrado, di nila isinama sa pangungopya sa US constitution ang “Right to a Trial by Jury), at hanggang ngayon patuloy pa rin at magpapatuloy ito magpakailanman kungdi maipairal sa bansa ang TRIAL BY JURY.

  • Ross

    Sa mga PHL voters, itama niyo ang mga boto niyo sa elections… maging wise na tayo, sana lang :)

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