Editorial: Pork barrel


“Corruption in the bureaucracy of the big comprador-landlord state is indeed endemic. This is called bureaucrat capitalism. The politicians of the big compradors and landlords use their public offices as their own private enterprises for self-enrichment. … Corruption is not an incurable disease. It thrives most where class exploitation is the rule and is systematically carried out by the imperialists, big compradors, landlords and high bureaucrats. ” – JMSison

The whistleblowers’ exposé of a Napoles P10 billion scam is a story of the operations of patronage politics in the country. It involved ghost projects, fake NGOs, syndicates of influence peddlers and fixers, members of Congress, presidential agencies, and local government units. It told of how elected and appointed officials misappropriate the peoples’ money – against the peoples’ welfare and interests. It is like a Pandora’s Box that broke wide open under a watchful administration that trumpets an anti-corruption crusade – “Kung walang kurap walang mahirap” to banner its campaign the “daang matuwid”.

The whistleblowers have brought to light and to the knowledge of a wider number of Filipinos what the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) is, and how it is being used and dispensed off by officials in the name of the Filipino people. The scandalous proportions of the corruption in the pork barrel system have instigated rage especially amongst a population kept in the dark and everyday forced into battle against poverty. It also has sparked both spontaneous and organized protest mass actions nationwide that call for the abolition of the pork barrel system.

In the September 11 nationwide protest newspapers quoted the former national treasurer’s speech demanding that “all lump sum allocations must be scrapped.” Aside from genuine peoples’ organizations, church leaders and sectoral groupings, the presidents of three prestigious universities issued a joint statement condemning “the misuse of public funds by unscrupulous government officials and their conniving associates.” And articulated the nation’s demand that, “We stand in unity with a keen desire to end the deeply entrenched culture of graft, corruption and patronage in our political system,” and, “We assert that accountability, transparency and other principles of good governance require not only the prudent use of discretionary funds but also the assurance that public funds are used for the genuine needs of our people.”

Yet, in the primer about the pork barrel system, people are reminded, “Make no mistake, Malacañang and Congress will fight tooth and nail to retain the pork barrel system. But as experience has taught us in the past, strong public opinion plus sustained and concerted mass actions by citizens, both organized and unorganized can lead to positive and substantial reforms.” # nordis.net


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