To those happy with the official audit of Congress funds that stopped in 2009, the 1987 Constitution may be a wet blanket. Section 20, Article VI (“The Legislative Department”) reads:
“The records and books of accounts of the Congress shall be preserved and be open to the public in accordance with law, and such books shall be audited by the Commission on Audit which shall publish ANNUALLY [Emphasis mine.—JR] an itemized list of amounts paid to and expenses incurred for each Member.”
So, where’s that audit for 2010-2012, the first three years of the current administration? You tell me, Chairman Grace Pulido-Tan.
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President Noynoy Aquino was in solidarity with the people protesting the theft of the pork barrel funds all along. And if you believe that, there’s a bridge in downtown Manila that I really want to sell to you, cheap.
Aquino’s official Facebook page actually thanked everyone who joined Monday’s protest at Manila’s Rizal Park and elsewhere in the country, where he announced that more and more people “were becoming our allies in fixing the system.” This, only hours after his spokesmen were furiously re-tweeting a statement about the “hypocrisy of indignation” that supposedly caused the rally.
And this only a day after his chief political operative flew into Cebu City to hijack the anti-pork rally in that traditional hotbed of anti-government protest. (As it turns out, the Cebu hijacking operation was successful, as protesters were led by conflicting statements to go to two different sites.)
If you can’t dissuade them, scare them, mollify them with half-measures or otherwise convince them not to turn indignant and take to the streets, then why not say that you were with them all along? Nice try.
Of course, unless you are really in Yellow blinders, you may have figured out that solidarity with those calling for the abolition of Congress’ and Malacañang’s pork was the last thing that Aquino showed in the past weeks. Just to be clear, Aquino first ignored the controversy, then said scandals in Arroyo’s time were worse, then suspended PDAF releases, then said he was abolishing (but really just renaming) the pork funds, on the Friday before Monday’s protest.
That could be solidarity in some strange Yellow universe. It reality, it’s just called making an omelette when you’ve already been pelted with eggs.
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For once, I believe that Senate President Franklin Drilon has hit upon an excellent idea: Why not, he said, abolish Congress, instead?
It’s something to think about, if you are one of those who believe that Congress has passed far too many laws that are never implemented and conducted way too many investigations that don’t lead anywhere. Yes, why not abolish a legislature that is doing so little and is just such a big drain on the national finances?
Especially if you are among those who have noticed that Drilon and his House counterpart, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, act too much like they were lackeys of the head of a supposedly co-equal branch, the Executive, you may want to abolish Congress. Yes, maybe you did notice that Drilon and Belmonte acted like mere spear-carriers of President Noynoy Aquino on television, when the latter declared that he would abolish pork—but not, according to the budget secretary, just yet.
(Drilon standing a little to the side and behind Aquino reminded me of the times when he was always in the same position in relation to Gloria Arroyo, whom he also served as Senate head. I shall keep it in mind, when Drilon decides once again the take to the streets against his current patron.)
You may want to consider abolishing Congress, too, when you think about how much pork the legislature has cost us. Remember also that, in the past three years, this administration’s Priority Development Assistance Funds, according to official records, more than doubled compared to those given to legislators in the last three years of the Arroyo government.
If you abolish Congress, you’d never see those expensive SUVs and luxury cars sporting “7” and “8” license plates, with their cohort of backup vehicles ridden by menacing armed men, acting like kings of the road anymore. You’d a lot less of those billboards telling you were your taxes are going, greeting you on your fiesta or your religious leader on his birthday anymore.
Maybe you’ll even reconsider the use of the word “honorable,” to describe someone who actually has honor. Yes, that’s a great idea.
I understand that Drilon was just being sarcastic when he said that we might as well abolish Congress if legislators are prevented from choosing the projects that they want funded. But Drilon probably failed to realize is that he has just given us another reason to hold the next rally: the abolition of those dens of thieves that are so totally subservient to their Malacañang paymasters that they will do anything for pork.
Thank you, Frank. And when you join us, we will remember that it was you who first proposed the abolition of pork funds—until your boss told you it was to be defended until, well, he also changed his mind about it because of pressure from an angry citizenry.