THERE is not the least intention to undermine the importance and implications of the Office of Congressman in the country. While it is not a secret that there are some of them whose presence in the Congress of the Philippines constitutes a big living enigma—primarily on account of their questionable identity and competence—most of them can be rightfully considered not only upright but also well intentioned. But all these notwithstanding, it is their individual so called “Pork Barrel” that has long since haunted their integrity and actuation—rightly or wrongfully.
Lately, this particular issue of long standing has again come to fore, not simply because of the “pork” but especially so on account of “more pork” given to them individually. The more signal and relevant questions about this phenomenon appear to be the following—in addition to concrete reasonable doubts both about the person of many Congressmen and the money credited to them for their disposition through pertinent government agencies:
One “Pork Barrel” by and large does not enhance the person nor promote the integrity of congressmen in general. While it is true that some of them have demonstrated their dignity and retained their probity, “Pork Barrel” notwithstanding, many of them however show themselves to be otherwise.
Two: “Pork Barrel” leaves some kind of a bad taste in the palate of the general public in the sense that the public coffer is full of debts instead of assets—not to mention the so many urgent needs in the country crying for funds—and yet much of the already limited public funds still go as “pork” in the “barrel.”
Three: “Pork Barrel” gives the message that the administration appears to be captive of the Legislative Department in the sense that the former does not give in to the costly demands of the latter, the same would lose political support to the latter in the matter of preferred legislations—in line with the saying “Scratch my back and I will scratch yours.”
All arguments to the contrary, the “Pork Barrel” has been long since a suspect matter, a distasteful reality and a thorny issue. And come to think of it, it is precisely during the present Administration with loud and repeated claims of integrity incarnate, that the said “pork” has become fatter and “barrel” has thereby become even bigger. This fact argues the following: the matter of graft and corruption in the application of the pertinent public funds in the realm of the so called “SOP”—much more than that attributed to the immediately past Administration—stands more suspect, more tenable and more probable during the present one that proudly says and repeatedly claims: kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap.”
22 OCTOBER 2010