Abolish-the-Pork-Barrel-System

People must press with demands to abolish pork barrel and end the corrupt and rotten system

Communist Party of the Philippines

Over the past several weeks, the Filipino people have expressed their disgust over widespread corruption in the use of pork barrel funds as well as with the rottenness of the entire ruling system. They have launched protest actions and conducted other forms of mass protest in various parts of the country. That the mass actions have been sustained for several weeks now and are set to further snowball in the coming weeks indicate the extent of the people’s disgust and disenchantment over Aquino’s promises of “good government” reforms.

The Filipino people have sought the abolition of the so-called Priority Development Assistance Fund (the congressional pork barrel), the Presidential Social Fund and other unprogrammed funds whose disbursement is subject to the discretion of the ruling clique in Malacañang. They are not fooled by the formal abolition of the PDAF.

They reject the allegedly new system of budgeting where congressmen are still given the privilege of specifying infrastructure projects to be undertaken by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) — a system which has long been ridden with corruption in the form of kickbacks and manipulated bidding processes. Like before, this system of fund allocations is subject to political patronage.

The Filipino people reject Malacañang’s lame justification for the retention of the trillion-peso presidential pork barrel. Aquino claims that the Philippine president should have a standby fund to rapidly address calamities and other contingencies. The fact is, Aquino has been allocating less and less funds for calamities and that these comprise less than one percent of the total presidential pork. The very narrow slice of calamity funds are being used by Aquino to hide the large chunks of the presidential pork which include unprogrammed funds not subject to public scrutiny.

To draw attention away from the demand to abolish the presidential discretionary pork funds, Malacañang has been drumming up the P10 billion pork barrel scam involving Janet Lim-Napoles. It is further taking advantage of the Napoles scam in order to selectively prosecute rivals, targeting specific politicians who are set to challenge the ruling clique in the 2016 elections.

The Aquino clique, however, clearly wants to put a tight lid on the information that may be revealed by Napoles about her dealings with the ruling clique by limiting her public exposure to the strict regulations of a court proceeding, isolating her inside a police camp and keeping her away from public hearings like those of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.

The filing by the Department of Justice of plunder complaints against key opposition politicians is a mere publicity gimmick. The ruling Aquino clique is yet to prove itself capable of actually subjecting fellow members of the ruling class to actual criminal prosecution. Despite being charged of plunder close to two years ago, former president Gloria Arroyo has yet to undergo prosecution. Indeed, over the years, the ruling classes in the Philippines, from whatever faction, have tended to turn a blind eye to the crimes perpetrated by their own species.

The Filipino people are, however, keenly aware that corruption involving the pork barrel goes beyond the Napoles scam. Briberies, kickbacks and other forms of corruption involving pork barrel funds have been routinely perpetrated by the reactionary ruling class politicians long before Napoles came into the picture. Aquino, himself, received his share of pork barrel funds before 2005, when the Aquinos were still in the good graces of the Arroyo regime. Since 2010, Aquino himself has been dealing pork barrel funds in exchange for support for priority legislation and other crucial measures.

That Aquino dished out P50 million in “extra allotments” for every senator that voted to convict former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona last year came as no surprise to the Filipino people. The impact of such an exposé made by Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, however, has been dulled by his self-serving claim that his extra allotment was not given in exchange for his pro-impeachment vote.

Estrada, however, gave the people a glimpse of how corruption persists under the Aquino regime, including how the pork barrel funds have been used as an “incentive” for the passage of the Sin Tax Law and the Reproductive Health Law; and how kickbacks, briberies and other anomalies involving the pork barrel funds go beyond the Napoles scheme.

The Filipino people, however, demand a more thoroughgoing exposé of the Aquino regime’s corruption. They demand to know how the pork barrel funds have been used by the ruling Aquino clique to generate political support in the last elections. Beyond the pork barrel, the Filipino people demand how Aquino used his prerogative as president to cancel contracts entered into by the Philippine government under the previous regime in order to renegotiate these in favor of his close relatives, family and friends.

They demand information about how Aquino’s “Kamag-anak, Kaibigan at Kabarilan Inc.” (popular label for the Aquino cronies of relatives, friends, and shooting buddies — ed.) have cornered juicy public infrastructure contracts, tax incentives and other favors to the detriment of public interest, especially urban poor communities which have been demolished to free prime real estate for these projects.

The ruling system currently managed by Aquino and his ilk of big landlords and big compradors is inherently corrupt and rotten. The socio-economic system is backward and moribund. It is not productive and cannot progressively sustain itself except through infusions of foreign capital from loans and investments. The ruling classes are anti-progressive and parasitic and rely on their political linkages to finance their profligate lifestyles.

The Filipino people must press on with their demand to abolish the pork barrel funds. At the same time, they must press on with their demand to put an end to the bureaucrat capitalist corruption of the ruling classes of big landlords and big compradors. The Filipino people must demand an end to the rotten semicolonial and semifeudal system that is at the foundation of this system of corruption.

   

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