The root of all evils-A A +A
By Jun Ledesma
Thursday, August 22, 2013
WHAT ails the government is the wanton profligacy of officials in high places. Pork Barrel which was given various names to veil the devious applications started as modest amount to allow congressmen and even the President to respond to minute projects of their political constituents. But congressmen have no satiety they pigged and still pig over pork which now amounts to billions of pesos in taxpayers’ money.
Janet Napoles does not seem to sound like she is investment savvy as Manny Pangilinan or Henry Sy. She is now being crucified as the Houdini of the megascam involving multi-billion pork barrel. The government is focusing on her as the culprit and now the object of a nationwide, maybe worldwide, manhunt. Napoles started out as the stole pigeon and now she too has become a veritable sacrificial goat of the lawmakers. But as pigeon and goat she is one who was well-fed until the PDAF (pork barrel) scam hit the nation like thunderbolt.
As this develops, Malacanang and Senate Pres. Franklin Drilon issued separate statements which are of similar context: “we will focus the investigation on the previous administration”. This amidst the public confession of an ally, Sen. Edgardo Angara, that he indeed allocated millions of pork barrel funds to a non-government organization where he is a member of the board.
What Malacañang and Drilon are trying to impress us is that this present administration, meaning the Office of the President and the incumbent members of Congress, are not involved in the shenanigans. In my books, only Senators Ping Lacson and Joker Arroyo have not been receiving pork barrel funds which have been dished out by Malacañang through the Budget Management secretary (Florencio Abad). Senate President Drilon and Pres. Noynoy Aquino should not play Pontius Pilate and then as ultimate arbiters by implying that the incumbent crop of legislators are Simon-pure. If there were/are 20 legislators who spent their Priority Development Assistance Fund judiciously and without tint of corruption, I am sure that God would have spared Metro Manila and Luzon from the scourge of the recent devastating floods.
The P10-billion pork barrel scam is merely a tip of the iceberg. Malacañang and the two Houses of Congress cannot stonewall the fact that the incumbents have their hands on the multi-billion-peso pork barrel funds and heaven knows how they spent their allocations. Majority of them had been re-elected while the persons who dispense the pork were both members of congress in the past. They have come around full circle and I doubt whether each turned into new a leaf after Pnoy became President.
But the President himself is not keen on giving up his pork. The civil society which in the past administration strained their vocal cords demanding for the abolition of PDAF is now quiet in acquiescence. But who needs them now? Their silence unmasked their character and revealed their agenda to fight for change for in change perchance they too will benefit from the carcass of corruption.
That is why the people are angry. If President Aquino will not listen to the people’s demand to abolish pork and to conduct a no-nonsense probe on how the billions of pesos were robbed from the nation’s coffers he may have to face still another people power demonstration. The anger that is presently brewing is heated up by the realization that the President has his pork barrel and a gargantuan fund which might dwarf the total combined PDAF of senators and representatives.
Secretary Abad alleges that President Aquino is prudent in spending his PDAF and other discretionary funds. I believe him. But PDAF has become a despicable symbol of corruption and the root of all evils that choke the nation. He has to renounce it to restore morality in government.
What does it profit the President if he does not give up his pork? Canine loyalty of his party-mates? What if he loses the support of his party-mates. But who cares about people who consider friendship in terms of the amount of loot they can derive from such relationship?
President Noynoy will lose them but he will have a million folds of friends from his constituents which he considers his Boss. He too will perpetuate the good name and heroism of Ninoy, his father, and the sacred name of Cory, his mother.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 23, 2013.