IF HE is really serious about fighting corruption, President Aquino will inevitably have to cross swords with Congress, where stories of corruption abound. In a face-off with congressmen and senators the issue of the pork barrel, which is the primary root of corruption in Congress, will be the battle-field.

Should P-Noy decide to abolish the pork barrel (which he has the absolute prerogative to do) he risks losing the support of the legislators in carrying out his presidential agenda. Many of them may even turn to the Arroyo group's move to amend the Constitution and shift to a parliamentary form of government, if only to defang him of his power over the pork barrel.

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On the other hand, if he continues dispensing with pork barrel to keep them on his side, the President will be aiding and abetting the corrupt practices of congressmen over whom he has little control, given the separation of powers between the Executive and the Legislative Departments.

A "Catch 22" situation? Maybe.

But P-Noy actually has an ace up his sleeve. I suggest he continues dispensing the pork barrel, but instead of giving the privilege to the senators and the congressmen, why not dispense it to the mayors and governors to implement projects which these local officials used to turn to congressmen to for funding?

Of course with the transfer of the pork the corrupt practices could shift from the legislators to the local chief executives. But this time the President has control and supervision over them since governors and mayors are under the jurisdiction of the Office of the President. P-Noy therefore can crack down on the corrupt among them more easily and with more force than he could with the members of Congress.

Out of spite congressmen could try to withdraw support from the President and campaign with the Arroyos for a shift to the parliamentary form of government. But in order to have the people ratify such an amendment to the Constitution they will need the unstinting support of the governors and mayors. It is doubtful they can do it, not without the carrot of the pork barrel to dangle as bait. With the local officials handling the pork the shoe will be on the other foot.

In the long term, this simple move by the President could rid Congress of corrupt officials. Who among these rats would run for re-election when there is no longer any pork to fleece money from? We daresay many of them do not even know how to make laws. They could of course run for governor or mayor in 2013, but then they would be under the control and supervision of P-Noy. Not a pleasant prospect! For the corrupt such as these, the "Catch 22" situation would have caught up with them instead.