“Resistance on the part of people to the supreme legislative power of the state is never legitimate; it is the duty of the people to bear any abuse of the supreme power.” IMMANUEL KANT
By Alex P. Vidal
The light of common sense is the spark that has burst over the Senate when senate president-in-waiting Franklin Drilon sought for the abolition of the much-abhorred priority development assistance funds (PDAF) notoriously known as “pork barrel”.
But like the Roman senators who praised Julius Caesar to high heavens when they faced him and lynched him when he turned his back, no one from among Drilon’s peers was brave enough to sincerely support his stand in public.
Whether the Ilonggo senator meant what he said in a recent dzMM interview, at least he had the guts to speak on something many of his ilk wouldn’t dare say: “Payag ako na itigil etong pork barrel para matigil na etong mga reported anomalies. Itigil natin pork barrel. Sa akin ang buod nito kung i-retain ang pork barrel talagang i-limit na lang natin among sa institutional recipients.”
Most of Drilon’s fellow senators and their counterparts in the Lower House pretend to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, and principles, that they do not actually possess. Their actions belie their stated beliefs. In matters involving public interest and public funds, they also feign some desirable or publicly approved attitude, but their opinions and principles speak otherwise.
The primary purpose of government is supposedly to create and maintain a stable domestic environment, but this bunch of hypocrites and their colleagues in the Lower House have eroded the people’s trust and confidence on public officials in general. Some of them are the number one thieves in government. They stole the people’s money on pretext of “public service” and “countrywide development” when in truth and in fact, they serve their own wallets and develop their own pockets.
Even if they will be arrested and put inside a cage, none of them will give up the “pork barrel”, the chief source of corruption and scandal that has bedeviled public service in the legislative branch. They would rather lose and suffer embarrassment in a televised debate than face the grim prospect of finishing their terms without the fragrance of oodles upon oodles of moolah from the public coffer.
Legislators are mandated to create laws, not to decide which infrastructure project should go to a certain district in the city and province. It’s mind-boggling how our national officials were able to institutionalize appropriation of “pork barrel” for lawmakers when they are fully aware such responsibility falls under the executive branch.
This mental dishonesty among our legislators has become a culture and has been tolerated with impunity in the past and present administrations. As long as our leaders don’t have the political will and conscience, this immoral practice, the rampant misuse and squandering of taxpayers money, will go on unabated even in future administrations.
How can we right the wrong when no less than the head of the House of Representatives, Speaker Sonny Belmonte of Quezon City, has fallen in love with “pork barrel”?
“I’m against abolishing PDAF. There are so many things we can do to make sure PDAF goes to people that’s doable…I’m for 100% scrutiny of PDAF. I’m also in favor of the House periodically upgrading its mechanism for knowing how it is spent and improving the way it is spent and also for making the whole thing open to the public,” went Belmonte’s justification.
“To the credit of the (Department of Budget and Management), they have actually been tightening up on the uses of the PDAF over the past 3 years. The rules have been tightened up for what purpose can you spend it. May listing yan, which was considerably lessened and definitely mentioned. Also the COA I know for a fact has been looking into the uses of the PDAF that has been turned over the (local government units).”