If the previous administration had its notorious Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and its diabolical mutation, the Benigno Aquino III signature Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) — both patent variations of a criminal pork barrel system under the “King of Pork,” a label Aquino detests — then the administration before Aquino’s had its collective metaphorical pigsty now insidiously being resurrected under the House’s current leadership.
In 2010, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s administration was so rejected wholesale that despite her relative competence as an economist, the electorate was all-too willing to gamble recklessly with an inexperienced and unproductive politician as president.
The electorate’s collective stupidity is cyclical. That’s the reason criminality never really leaves us. It simply resurrects and mutates.
The issues hurled at Arroyo then were mostly based on corruption. These centered on the pork barrel controversy. When Aquino’s turn came around, the issues brought against Arroyo’s administration focused on three senators. The most popular of the three and who many thought would eventually make a bid for the presidency, had eventually been acquitted of criminal liabilities. As the other two are out on bail and are running for the Senate, these pork barrel issues for which they are accused of are likely to haunt them.
The various decisions of the Supreme Court (SC) on the pork barrel question, raised, debated and eventually integrated into jurisprudence during the Aquino administration do not seem to matter one bit to trapos, whether these are congressmen, senators, House Speakers or even past Presidents.
The two most important SC decisions on the issue of pork barrel were set in the Aquino administration because of the level of corruption and criminality, the brazenness and the abuse that compelled a label of “Pork Barrel King” at the time.
One involved the PDAF, the other, Aquino’s personal DAP. Unfortunately, despite the High Court decisions, Aquino himself remained bullheaded and defiant. The ink had not yet completely dried on the decision outlawing the PDAF and already Aquino’s criminal DAP was in play.
Of note is the SC’s decision on pork barrel programs that “deem illegal any form of congressional intervention in the post-enactment of the budget.” The phrase “any form of congressional intervention” is all encompassing and should have sufficed. Unfortunately, cockroaches and other creepy crawlies can slip under the tightest nooks and crannies.
Not only are the higher pork barrel operators scot-free, but some have even either morphed the beast into something more frightening or have simply lied. Note that last August, one solon declared, “We’ll make sure everything complies with the Supreme Court decision.”
Fooling around with the phrase “in the post-enactment of the budget,” the House under Arroyo craftily “amended” pork barrel allocations into the budget process. Since the SC determined that Congress’ power is limited to its scrutiny of the budget as it constitutes the General Appropriations Act, then it is among those voluminous pages where insertions insidiously hide.
Note what slithered in.
One, over 100 congressmen and senators will each get over P1 billion in additional budgetary allocations to fund their pet projects. One unidentified district will get over P8 billion.
Apparently, it’s feeding time at the congressional pigsty.
Two, while congressmen have specific districts to whom they think they are accountable beyond serving as lawmakers, senators are elected at large and are not by any decent sense accountable in the same manner as congressmen might be to any specific geographic or parochial constituency. So, why are senators fed pork?
Three, our lawmakers have devised diabolical innovations in spawning secret pork. One ploy is to appropriate millions into pet projects meant for the districts of fellow congressman, later to be reclaimed for realignment once the budget is passed and the coast is clear.
Obviously, our title is wrong. The pigs never left us.