The shamelessness of pork barrel trapos
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus Jimenez (The Freeman) - December 17, 2018 - 12:00am

At a time when millions of Filipinos are suffering from hunger, poverty, and homelessness, some of the elected representatives of the people have been reported to have surreptitiously allocated some pork barrel to the tune of billions of pesos in order to secure projects for allegedly favored contractors and suppliers. This, to me, is another betrayal of the peoples' trust and some trapos in our political scene are still clinging on to what has been condemned as prejudicial to the interests of the nation and the people. I thought that with the conviction of Napoles and with the prosecution of some senators (albeit one had been acquitted but ordered to return P124 million to the government coffers) this was it.


Barely a week before Christmas, we did not wish to write nasty things about people, even if they have shown indubitable signs of being rascals, scoundrels, or scalawags. But compelling events like the announcement made by no less than the newly-installed House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. made us consider this piece today a rare exception to the spirit of the season. Andaya claimed that the Davao del Norte congressional district of former speaker Pantaleon Alvarez was allegedly allotted a proposed infrastructure budget to the tune of a whopping P5 billion. Andaya also said that the Davao City district of Karlo Nograles, now a Cabinet secretary, had been favored with P4 billion, while Ilocos Norte's district of former majority leader Rodolfo Fariñas was allocated P3.5 billion.

The three gentlemen allegedly claimed that they had nothing to do with the decision on such allocation. And so, if that was true, these manna just fell from heaven and landed in their respective districts. Earlier, Senator Panfilo Lacson complained that the Pampanga congressional district of House Speaker GMA was supposedly allocated P2.4 billion. Alvarez and Fariñas allegedly reasoned out that they did not have a hand in the allocation of more funds for their respective districts. Who would believe that kind of statement? Are these guys telling us that such an amount just fell on their districts without their interventions? Tell that to the marines. What do they think of the people, all stupid?

The people are suffering. Millions do not know where to get their next meal. They have no decent homes or access to clean and potable water. They cannot afford basic medicines and decent education. Millions are homeless, jobless, and hopeless. Many are just sleeping in the sidewalks or in shanties that are exposed to pests, rodents, and all sorts of dirt and garbage. These congressmen have been in power since time immemorial. What have they done regarding the housing problem and the issues of poverty, unemployment, and lack of access to affordable and decent public health care and education? They keep on prioritizing the high-profile infrastructures projects that do not directly impact the poor people.

It is high time that we expose all kinds of betrayals of the peoples' trust. Let us see what the representatives from the seven districts of Cebu Province have been doing? And the two representing Cebu City, and another for Lapu-Lapu. Some of them had been in office for the longest time. What have they done? Are they part of the pork barrel system? Soon, the people will know.

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