Tuesday, August 27, 2013


The Voice of the People is the Voice of God.  The voice of both virtual and real people was heard, not one million as hoped.  But the voice was emphatic, loud and clear.  No more PORK BARREL!

Quo Vadis?  Where do we go from here?

PNoy’s response was as quick and as clear before, during, and after the march, “It is time to abolish the PDAF.”  Meanwhile, he announces the suspension of all releases of pork barrel funds, and “tasked the DOJ, together with all the agencies of the executive government under the Inter-Agency Anti-Graft Coordinating Council or IAAGCC to work together to accelerate the process from investigation, to prosecution, to putting people behind bars, and even to asset recovery.”

My reaction was that PNoy actually meant abolish the PDAF “as previously and currently practiced; as the Constitution permits; and as Real Politik and effective governance practically allow.”

As previously and currently practiced....

The Commission on Audit (COA) Report exposing the Pork Barrel Scam allegedly perpetrated by Janet Napoles and company as well as other culprits revealed the evil effects of the previous and possibly the current system.   These practices that produce the pernicious effects will be gone.

As the Constitution permits....

The pork barrel system, which is the process of “earmarking” by the legislators of funding certain projects to benefit his district and/or constituents, has been incorporated in the Constitution.  It is part of Congress’ Constitutional power to appropriate or  “power of the purse.”

Attempts had been made at least three times in the past to ask the Supreme Court to declare this power of Congress unconstitutional, but three times the high court reaffirmed Congress’ power of appropriation with this added reason, “The Countrywide Development Fund (Pork Barrel) attempts to make equal the unequal. It is also a recognition that individual members of Congress, far more than the President and their congressional colleagues are likely to be knowledgeable about the needs of their respective constituents and the priority to be given each project.”  

So what should PNoy do to, in effect, “abolish the PDAF” without violating the Constitution?  After consulting his legal advisers he proposes a  “new mechanism” that will be created “to address the needs of constituents and sectors, in a manner that is transparent, methodical and rational, and not susceptible to abuse or corruption.”

Specifically, “each legislator can identify and suggest projects for his district, and will have to go through the budgetary process.  If approved, these projects will be “earmarked” (sounds familiar) as line items, under the programs of the National Government.” 

Still sounds like “pork barrel” but this time with safeguards and protection from abuse and misuse.  This is why his critics are saying, “You can put a lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.”

As Real Politik and effective governance practically allow....

In an article, legal luminary Fr. Joaquin Bernas, S.J. recently quoted the Supreme Court, “The Constitution is a framework of a workable government and its interpretation must take into account the complexities, realities and politics attendant to the operation of the political branches of government.”

Indeed, as I also wrote earlier, “Real Politik and effective governance sometimes demand some compromises without sacrificing public welfare, morals, and legal mandates.”  

Given his recent pronouncements and commitments, what would be the next move of the Luneta marchers and Facebook movers?

When my barber asked for my take on PNoy’s moves, I told him, “AYEs have it.”  The naysayers will always oppose whatever PNoy does or proposes.  Many of them joined the Luneta gathering.  Ousted CJ Renato Corona appeared at the event but was jeered and booed so loud that he had to leave the premises.  Many PNoy supporters, prosecutors, law enforcers, legitimate NGO representatives, Church leaders including future Pope ChitoTagle and many other well-meaning citizens also attended.

Quo Vadis?

We want PNoy to stop corruption because as he said, “kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap”.  We want him to focus on poverty alleviation.  We want him to provide more classrooms, books and better education.  We want him to provide more universal and better health care.  We want faster, better and fairer administration of justice.  We want our economy to improve.  We want better law enforcement.  We want more peace not war in Mindanao and other places.  We want more tourists to come to our shores.  We want better defense against external invaders.  We want more assistance to overseas workers and their families.  We expect him to provide more accessibility to housing. We want him to stop public officials from abusing and misusing public funds.  We want him to protect us from various “acts of man” and even expect him to provide for emergencies during “acts of God” such as typhoons, storms, floods, earthquakes, fires and other unexpected and unavoidable events.  We want him “to abolish Pork Barrel” which the Supreme Court says he cannot.

These are responsibilities he currently pursues with all honesty, humility, honor, and hope. Given our history and the limitations, his achievements are quite satisfactory.  

Commensurate Responsibility comes with commensurate Power.  But commensurate Power also comes with commensurate Resources.   Unfortunately, the power to appropriate the commensurate Resources is vested upon a perceptively corrupt Congress – an institution composed of people that we elected.  Now we are asking PNoy to negotiate with them expecting unacceptable results.

Pork Barrel as a system is ultimately a matter of discretion and judgment.  Whom do we trust to have that discretion and make the judgment?   

At this point in our history, PNoy, son of Ninoy and Cory, is the best choice.  To aid and support him, we must show vigilance.  Let him execute and enforce the laws without fear!

Quo Vadis?  For me, AYEs should have it!

No comments:

Post a Comment