Pork barrel

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By Godofredo M. Roperos

Politics also

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


LET'S face it, the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) problem is here to stay as part of our history. So far, the biggest thing that’s happened to us about the PDAF, also known as the pork barrel, is the discovery that some people did not just become millionaires out of their “pickings” from PDAF shares but also from their own effort to have bigger share from their own barrel. After all, the total of the fund when finally accounted for amounts to billions of pesos.

The funny thing about it--or perhaps, I should say, the sad part about it--is that the money actually came from the pockets of our fellow taxpayers. They have to fork over part of their income--by force of circumstance, that is, under threat of the tax law--for being good, law-abiding citizens.

Of course, many of the taxpayers have also developed the skill of avoiding paying taxes. It has been found out that the most skilled tax-evaders are those who have the most money.

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At any rate, the recent discovery that someone, a low-profile woman, with high profile vision and creative capability to make the most of her influence and contacts, was able to bargain her “feminine skill” into multi-billion-peso gain, which she reportedly shared with favored lawmakers from the Lower and Upper chambers. But of course, she could not share the gravy to everyone, only to her few favored friends.

Which is why some of these friends have recently been included in a list of people who have received shares from the pork barrel patron, Janet Lim-Napoles. Likewise, her estranged staff member, Benhur Luy, also had his list. Together, they generated a cauldron of names that allegedly got a good taste of their pork barrel gravy, complete with the garlic, onions and sauce to improve the taste.

But the joy killer from the so-called anti-pork barrel coalition of joy killers, some of whom I suspect are truly mad at what Napoles and her cohorts did--making hay while half of our masses are scorched in poverty--are said to have asked some the “suspects” to resign from their posts in government (which is about the same as roasting in hell).

Msgr. Rommel Kintanar a Catholic Church coalition convenor, said that it is disgusting to see (the lawmakers) laughing off the cases against them.

At most, the charges of plunder filed by the Office of the Ombudsman before the Sandiganbayan against a good number of people should not really have had them laughing had they realized that the billions of pesos in public funds may have found their way to the pockets of the accused.

Not all of them benefited from it though, as some may have been falsely included in the list. Still, the fact remains that our country and people have been defrauded of money that could have been used for projects that could benefit many.

In any case, today, June 12, is our independence day. At least, many of us can enjoy freedom on empty belly, but with the thought of a sour pork barrel menu on the dinner table of the accused.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 12, 2014.

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