Aquino, your boss wants you to scrap the pork barrel
President Aquino is turning out to be just as bad as his predecessor, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. P-Noy waged an anticorruption campaign, during which he demonized GMA. The people believed him and elected him president. He then declared a policy of “daang matuwid” (a straight and narrow path) that is free of corruption.
The Commission on Audit has found out that GMA used pork barrel funds to “bribe” members of Congress to be able to escape the string of impeachment cases against her. Now P-Noy, the “knight in shining armor” who slew her, does not want to let go of the same corrupt-ridden pork barrel in spite of the widespread public clamor to abolish it. So what’s the difference between GMA and P-Noy? Did we throw out one corrupt president only to replace her with one like her?
“Kayo ang boss ko (You are my boss),” P-Noy told the people during his inaugural speech. Now his boss, the people, are ordering him in clear unmistakable terms to abolish the pork barrel system. But our anticorruption President is defying the order of his boss. He has brazenly said no, he won’t abolish the corrupt pork system.
The people are so outraged that they will have a people power demonstration, called the “Million People March to Luneta,” against the pork barrel and P-Noy at Rizal Park on Aug. 26, National Heroes Day. If P-Noy doesn’t watch out, he may go the way of President Marcos who was ousted by the first People Power revolt that also catapulted his mother, Cory Aquino, to Malacañang. I urge readers to join the march to show P-Noy how angry we are at the massive theft of our money and at the callousness of this administration in playing deaf to the clamor of the people against the evil pork barrel.
“Saan kaya kumukuha ng kakapalan ng mukha (Where are they getting the thickness of skin)” to be able to go on with the corruption in the Bureau of Customs? P-Noy asked in a speech scolding the officials and employees of the bureau. I throw that question back at him: Saan siya kumukuha ng kapal ng mukha to defend the pork barrel, which is clearly, unmistakably, definitely, and unquestionably corrupt? Where is his “daang matuwid” now? It is turning out to be as crooked as the crooks who trod it.
Instead of heeding the people’s clamor, P-Noy has found a scapegoat in Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the P10-billion pork barrel scam. He has ordered Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to immediately file criminal charges against Napoles. Perhaps he thinks the prosecution of Napoles will cool the anger of the people. How can the government prosecute anybody whom it cannot even locate, much less arrest?
And why only Napoles? She is only one part of the pork barrel scam. What about the other parts, the lawmakers who assigned their pork barrel allocations to her bogus nongovernment organizations? Napoles could not have gotten her hands on those pork funds had not the senators and congressmen, who include P-Noy’s party mates and allies, been willing to assign their pork allocations to her NGOs. And they were willing partners to the scam because they got as much as 60 percent of the project allocations, according to the whistle-blowers. They are as guilty as Napoles, if not more so. There will not be any pork barrel scam if there were no willing senators and congressmen. Alas, P-Noy is silent on the prosecution of Napoles’ partners in the scam.
P-Noy said even his allies would be prosecuted “if evidence will link them to wrongdoing.” Mr. President, the evidence is staring you in the face. The lawmakers are the source of the funds that Napoles took. They got more than half of those funds.
Developments in the pork barrel controversy show that P-Noy is all talk. The pork barrel is a big source of corruption. It corrupts not only members of Congress but also other government officials and employees as well as private contractors. Abolish the pork and more than half of government corruption will vanish. So why is he allowing a source of corruption to continue? Where is his anticorruption campaign now?
As former national treasurer Leonor Briones said, “‘Daang matuwid’ will be exposed as a mere slogan.”
P-Noy has declared: “If we scrap [the pork barrel], then we presume that the national government knows all our needs and attends to these all the time.”
But isn’t that what he, as President, ought to know? Mr. President, don’t you know that there are regional, provincial, city, and municipal development councils where the projects of lawmakers can be discussed and endorsed to the proper executive departments? Congressmen are members of all these councils. They were set up to avoid duplication of projects and wastage of the people’s money—and yes, corruption. Isn’t that what a President ought to do—prevent the waste of the people’s money?
It is becoming clear that P-Noy is afraid of members of Congress. He can be impeached by them. If he abolishes their beloved pork barrel, they may just do it.
But if he continues to defy the people’s clamor to abolish the pork barrel system, they may kick him out through another People Power revolt. Won’t that be very ironic?