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Be vigilant against ‘insidious’ pork barrel system

05:03 AM December 18, 2018

Lest the people forget, the worst period in the history of the pork barrel in our country was during the Arroyo administration. It took several forms, among others: the diversion of contrived government savings from reenacted budgets to projects of political allies and corrupt officials; the augmentation of budgets of government- owned and -controlled corporations including the Malampaya funds, to facilitate the plunder of the people’s money mostly through the Napoles NGOs; the insertion of so-called “congressional initiatives” for self-serving projects of members of Congress during budget deliberations.

All of these were validated in Commission on Audit reports to the tune of billions and billions of pesos which render the amounts now being fought in the House of Representatives miniscule.

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This happened before the pork barrel was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

So imagine the political leeway and propensity for fiscal abuse that the government was allowed at the time.

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I am not about to defend the Duterte administration for the way it has managed the national budget that still reeks of pork barrel, notwithstanding haughty denials from the budget secretary.

I am not a fan of Noynoy Aquino, who together with Butch Abad, engineered the infamous Disbursement Acceleration Program.

What assails one’s moral sensibilities is the way Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her cohorts, led by Rolando Andaya Jr. (a former budget secretary who executed the “spoils system” during his term under Arroyo), project themselves as champions of fiscal responsibility and equity and good governance when it comes to the allocation of budget resources.

Nothing could be further from the truth in the face of countless documented instances of fund diversion and political patronage that took place under their watch.

The Filipino people should be vigilant lest the return of the insidious pork barrel system to its former scale and tempo becomes irreversible and totally wreaks havoc on our moral, cultural and political order.

DONATO P. SOLIVEN,
paraquepa@yahoo.com

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TAGS: budget insertions, Donato P. Soliven, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Inquirer letters, pork barrel, Rolando Andaya Jr.
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