I AM not exaggerating when I say that my disgust at the blatant and shameless way Congress inserted pork items in the country’s 2019 budget is going through the roof. Thus with this column I join all indignant citizens in emphatically imploring the President to veto these items.
Pork has just recently been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court and the President’s oath of office includes the upholding of the country’s constitution that lawmakers are now violating. It is, therefore, the President’s sworn duty to veto these unconstitutional pork items. It’s not like the amount involved is insignificant as to be simply shrugged off. 305 billion pesos worth of pork is way over-the-top disgraceful and contemptible.
(Adding insult to injury and to hide explainable-only-by-pork amounts in their bank accounts they have come out with a resolution (also unconstitutional for violating freedom of information) that winds heavy red tape around their Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth (SALN). That their SALN is a matter of national security is just so ridiculous a justification as to be anything short of a sneering insult to the nation’s collective intelligence.)
Besides, pork belongs to lawmakers as mangoes to a guava tree. They originally asked for it because they needed to bring projects to their district, the reason being they have to show graphic performance in their districts or their constituents would have no reason to re-elect them. This is a fallacy. They were elected to enact laws and should, therefore, get re-elected for the quality of the bills they sponsor and pass into law.
Anyway, from experience we know that really the more compelling purpose of pork, a good portion or whole of which our lawmakers manage to divert to their pockets, is to finance re-election campaign expenses. Our elections are won on name recall. This costs a lot of money for ads, posters, free food and transportation, etc.
Pork should, therefore, be vetoed by you, Mr. President, because it is the juiciest source of corrupt money. If you do not veto the 305-billion pesos worth of pork you will have that much more corruption to deal with, a lot more than a whiff of what you have vowed to banish.
In case you make the mistake of not vetoing it, somebody will definitely ask the Supreme Court to come in and kill it for being unconstitutional. In the event of that, the Supreme Court’s judgment will at the same time be an indictment on your failure to uphold the constitution.
So, please Mr. President, put your foot down on this disgraceful act of our lawmakers. They need to be told to stick to being lawmakers and not financiers or implementers of projects in their constituencies.