Presidential veto a slap to the faces of Pork Barrel trapos
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus Jimenez (The Freeman) - April 23, 2019 - 12:00am

President Rodrigo Duterte did the right thing. He chose the decent option and decided in the most honorable way when he vetoed 12 spending provisions of the General Appropriations Act of 2019 or Republic Act 11260. By that bold and historic veto, future generations will remember him saving Filipino taxpayers no less than P95.3 billion which would have gone to the pockets of dirty and thieving traditional politicians to buy their reelection. Above all, that was a slap to the faces of the crocodiles in public service.

In a 13-page strongly worded veto message, he did not mince words when he insulted the proponents of the immoral and unconstitutional pork barrel insertions: “Consistent with the foregoing aspirations and in the faithful exercise of my office and due fidelity to my oath, I will not tolerate attempts to circumvent the Constitution, or any other action that will prejudice the Filipino people whom I serve.” This is, as Congressman El Ray Villafuerte commented, a big slap to the faces of the proponents of such insertions, including the House leadership. This is a victory of Malacañan and Senator Ping Lacson, the lonely voice against Pork Barrel.

The president was both succinct and direct when he added: “Any provision introduced in this budget, which does not relate to a particular appropriation or those which seek to amend the Constitution and existing laws have no place in the General Appropriations Act, as these are considered ‘rider’ provisions, and therefore must be subjected to direct veto.” Then he shamed the legislators by declaring, rather mockingly: “Allow me to take this opportunity to emphasize that the hard-earned money of our people must be used to improve the conditions of our country and their overall welfare. I have said this before, and I will say it again - I will not tolerate corruption in my administration.”

The congressmen behind those immoral insertions could be having nightmares and the contractors who have given hefty advances to the Pork Barrel congressmen must be having sleepless nights by now. Reports indicate that many notorious contractors (do they include those based in Cebu?) have given millions in advances to some members of the House, on the assumption the president would close his eyes or look the other way, and tolerate such highly illegal, unconstitutional and immoral insertions. But the president is wiser than they think. He is a lawyer, unlike the speaker and the Senate president. He understands fundamental law, and has his morals and ethics intact.

Filipinos are very lucky to have a president who does not dance to the tune of Pork Barrel trapos. We are blessed to be led by a head of state and head of government who refuse to violate his oath as a lawyer and chief executive.

RODRIGO DUTERTE
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