Thursday, August 8, 2013

Evils of pork barrel system.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad claims: “Ultimately, the decision on whether or not to abolish or continue on with the PDAF rests with ...the House of Representatives. So, I think it’s better for us to await the wisdom of this chamber ...”

He hides the fact that it is the Office of the President and his very own department which prepared and originated the pork-barrel-infested 2014 budget proposal.

If Malacanang is sincere in ridding Congress of the corruption-laden pork barrel system, as part of its "matuwid na daan" anti-corruption campaign, it should have excluded the item in its budget proposal in the first place.

Had it done so, Congress cannot restore or revive the item.

It can only reduce items in the budget proposal, as a matter of constitutional law - but not to increase or add new items to the proposal.

Abad added that “the President feels that the greater majority of legislators, who have been using their (pork barrel) rather prudently and well, should not be punished for the possible infraction committed by some.”

This is not a valid argument if we speak of prudence, orderliness, and wisdom in basic fiscal management principles in relation to the constitutional doctrine of separation of powers.

The basic constitutional task of Congress is legislative in nature, i.e., to deliberate on and adopt laws in consultation with the people. Congress should not to act as a "de facto Executive" by meddling in program planning and implementation.

It must focus its energy and resources on legislation, as mandated by the Constitution, if it wishes to be true to its real essence, mission and role in government.

It is unfortunate that in past jurisprudence, the Supreme Court has validated as constitutionality of the pork barrel system, despite vehement opposition from the public, especially the Bar and the Civil Society.

To my mind, the pork barrel system is the result of a massive and mutually satisfying "political conspiracy" (amounting to criminal malice and gross recklessness) among the three branches of government.

Acting in unison, they ignore the voice of the sovereign people and protect solely their vested financial and turf interests.

They have manipulated the interpretation of the Constitution and brainwashed the people into believing that the pork barrel system is both a legal and a necessary tool to serve the poor.

Developed countries, such as the USA, have condemned and abandoned the pork barrel system since the 1800s, despite the attempts of some US legislators to revive the item from time to time.

But, as a whole, Americans society abhors the concept.

All things being equal, my prognosis is that the three branches of government will not abandon the pork barrel system now or in the future.

The three branches of government belong to one secret "old boys' club", so to speak.

They soothe each other.

They serve each other.

They scratch each other's back.

They inspire each other.

They are co-conspirators.

When one speaks of easy money, the constitutional doctrine of "check and balance" that theoretically reigns among the three branches of government is rendered inutile.

Only a vigilant and courageous Press and Civil Society can save us from the conspiracy of the three ranches of government.

Nothing else. Nobody else.

I have lost my respect for P-Noy because of his anti-people and anti-Constitution mentality as shown by his full support to the pork barrel system.

History will prove that this deadly cancer called the pork barrel system perpetuates political dynasties, warlordism, feudalism, oligarchy, culture of corruption, and rigged elections in the country.

- Atty. Manuel J. Laserna Jr.
Las Pinas City

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