Thursday, August 15, 2013

Disgusting pork - Sun.Star

I DID not want to write anymore on national issues. The national media could tackle these issues.

But the P10 billion pork barrel scam is of such proportion that Cardinal Tagle cried over the moral bankruptcy of the lawmakers. To maintain the self-imposed silence on national issues is against the journalistic grain. I suffer hypertension every time I hear, read and watch reports on the porky scam. Writing this piece eases the pressure inside.

I might puke blood if I will remain silent about the porky scam.

Janet Lim-Napoles perfected the craft of corruption. But what feeds this craft is the greed of our lawmakers.

Cardinal Tagle wept, and understandably so. The leaders of his flock have shown to be so morally bankcrupt. And to think, these leaders always go to the Church in the glare of the media.

But while Cardinal Tagle cries over moral decadence; I puke with blood, howling for justice.

Even before the Napoles exposé, it is all too public knowledge that the lawmakers are making their pork barrel as their milking cow. These lawmakers do not depend on their payslips and the already hefty honoraria. They depend on their unconscionable commissions from infrastructure projects which are funded with their pork barrel funds.

But whereas before, lawmakers have big cuts on infra projects, Janet Lim-Napoles perfected the scheme. Instead of huge commissions, she set-up the entire scheme of putting-up bogus foundations and corporations, bogus projects and in the process pocketed the entire funds for her and the legislators.

Before Napoles, there was still moderation of greed; with her, the lawmakers abandoned all sense of morality. Greed is in its superlative; a kind of perfect greed, if we may allow the adjective.

Already, Speaker of House Feliciano Belmonte is saying that a congressional probe will be too messy. Senate President Franklin announced that there would be no Blue Ribbon Committe investigation on the pork scam. Secretary of Justice Leila Delima, that normally fiesty lady could not set the deadline for the investigation of the pork scam.

These leaders are praying that the pork scam may drown in the din of bombings in Mindanao.

"Daang matuwid" will remain a propaganda if Pnoy will keep mum over the issue. If he is really serious about his slogan, then he should go after the throats of these rotten lawmakers.

The core of corruption in the Philippines springs from pork barrel. President Arroyo railroaded the impeachment process against her by using the pork barrel as bait. Those who would toe her line immediately received the Notice of Cash Allotment for their projects and those who did not have to wait the long line. Legislative measures, good or bad, are pushed by dangling the release of the funds by the Department of Budget And Management.

Pnoy is well aware of the power of the pork funds over the lawmakers. His power to withhold the release of the funding for the already budgeted pork barrel keep the lawmakers hostage.

In a sense, porky scam is not only corruption at the financial level. It is not only thievery but a corruption of our democratic system as well. The legislators cannot be a counter-balance to the executive, thanks to the porky funds.

Sure, Pnoy has tried the power of pork barrel over the legislators. He has succeeded pushing his agenda with this scheme.

Pnoy is now facing a dilemma. While pork barrel is useful for his agenda, it is anathema to his avowed "Daang na Matuwid".

But he should position himself in a moral highground. He cannot be silent amidst the rape of the treasury. He should purge the misfits in Congress. Or the "Daang Matuwid" is nothing but an empty slogan.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 16, 2013.
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