Too much pork barrel in the Year of the Pig
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus Jimenez (The Freeman) - February 18, 2019 - 12:00am

In the Year of the Pig, Congress finally approved the national budget last week. Senator Panfilo Lacson, our lonesome Don Quixote de la Mancha in the Senate, continues to allege that the budget carries with it a lot of pork.

There are allegations that each congressman has at least P160 million pork each “surreptitiously inserted” in the DPWH budget. And each senator has been assured supposedly at least P3 billion each.

Whether they call them pork barrel or DAP, PDAP, or “congressional insertions,” it is the same animal with different collars. This animal is an institutionalized system of making money out of the taxes of the poor, overworked, underpaid, and overtaxed Filipino workingmen and women. This could be the very reason why too many incompetents, even nincompoops, want to be in Congress.

Many congressmen and senators in the past have been called crocodiles and other unsavory names because of, among others, their propensity to use the national budget as the instrument of perpetrating plunder, via public works and supply contracts, funded by the national budget, and allocated for their respective districts and constituencies.

This heinous virtual robbery of public funds, we all know by now, is being committed before our very eyes, by traditional politicians (trapos), in conspiracy with unscrupulous contractors, suppliers and their scheming minions, subalterns, and underlings.

Of course, the politicians do not sign any documents. Their chiefs of staff are often ordered to sign and some of these poor guys are now detained. One of them has been convicted while her boss is out running again.

These scheming plunderers often use fictitious cooperatives and peoples' organizations, like what was allegedly done in the many Napoles projects. Many of these traditional politicians do have their own contractor companies hidden in the name of their proxies, dummies, and puppets.

Others have friends, relatives, associates and co-conspirators who turn over to these trapos bundles of cash as kickbacks and shares of the dirty money. The Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan are currently trying many cases involving hundreds of millions of pesos in stolen public funds. These highly despicable and reprehensible malpractices are being inflicted on us while millions are dying of hunger, diseases, and hopelessness.

When millions are allocated for one district, the congressman and the contractor would usually agree on a project, with no reference at all to the welfare and interest of the people. They would build infrastructures without even determining how many people would benefit from them, if at all.

They would build bridges even if there are no rivers. If needed, they would build the rivers themselves, if only to justify the building of the bridges. They would construct clinics even when there no doctors and nurses to man them. They would build multi-purpose halls in outlying hinterlands and outskirts where there are hardly any inhabitants at all.

What is important to them is that there must be a project. When there is a project, there is money for the boys. Some applied this scheme using fertilizers, others did it using all other creative machinations.

Many writers in the past used to call politicians who are plunderers as crocodiles. Well, I refuse to do so. I tend to agree with some dissenters who believe that such name-calling would constitute a grave and unforgivable insult to the crocodiles. This year, we just stick to the pigs.

PANFILO LACSON
Philstar
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