By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chief Political Consultant
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
August 26, 2013
Both the presidential and congressional pork barrel must be abolished. B. S. Aquino III should stop pretending to abolish the congressional pork barrel, while in fact he is silent about his far bigger pork barrel and retains the congressional pork barrel up to 2014 under its current name and thereafter under a new name and under an itemized system of budgeting under his tighter control in the rotten scheme of political patronage.
The congressional pork for senators and congressmen, which is called Priority Development Assistance Fund, is Php 25 billion. This is a tiny amount in comparison to the presidential pork barrel which ranges from Php 1.3 trillion to 1.5 trillion. This is 58 to 70 per cent of the total national budget of Php 2.26 trillion for 2014.
The presidential pork barrel includes lump-sum allocations which allow corruption and political patronage by Aquino no less. These are under his sole discretion, with little or no oversight whatsoever. A huge part of the presidential pork barrel consists of special purpose funds, unprogrammed funds and automatic appropriations.
Long before the Napoles scam involving the misappropriation of Php 10 billion for nonexistent projects through ghost NGOs, there are the funds under Aquino which are big troughs of corruption, such as: the Malampaya fund, Php 132 billion; the Conditional Cash Transfer, Php 62.6 billion; PAMANA funds, Php 7.22 billion; the Confidential and intelligence funds, Php 1.46 billion, Pagcor President Social Fund, Php 12.4 billion; Support to GOCC, Php 62.9 billion; Support to infrastructure program, Php 14 billion; Allocation to LGU, Php 19.7 billion; Bottom up Budget, Php 20.03 billion; and so on.
Aquino has a lump sum discretionary fund running into hundreds of billions of pesos from so-called unobligated, unreleased or over-all savings. Only he decides how to spend the money. There are also off-budget accounts, which are the most mysterious. Only the President and his trusted minions know how much are received from sources like the PAGCOR and PCSO for the so-called Presidential Social Fund.
With the help of the mass media and poll survey firms co-owned by Aquino relatives and allies, bloggers and letter writing brigades paid by public funds in civil and military offices, the Aquino regime has been successful at touting itself as clean and honest on the straight path amidst the rise of corruption in government and as supposedly responsible for economic growth amidst the aggravation of unemployment, poverty and dwindling social services.
Among the people, the Aquino regime has become notorious for sharing the spoils of power with foreign and local corporations benefiting from the Public Private Partnership Program, especially in infrastructure projects and real estate speculation; for having intimate relations with the biggest tax evaders in the country who were his campaign financiers in the 2010 elections; and for technical smuggling at least three times worse than the Estrada and Arroyo regimes in terms of losses in customs revenues.
It is outrageous that the amount of Php 1.3 trillion to 1.5 trillion is lost or dissipated though the presidential pork barrel system alone in the multifaceted corruption of the Aquino regime. Such an amount would have gone a long way in developing the economy, alleviating poverty and improving social services.
It is therefore just for the people to demand that the pork barrel system and the entire system of corruption be condemned and stopped. The Aquino regime is so effective at conducting propaganda that the Filipino people and all patriotic and progressive forces must exert their most determined, sustained and militant efforts to expose and oppose all forms of corruption of the Aquino regime.###