abolish the PDAF, cleanse the tarnished soul of the nation
the pork barreal scam or the PDAF scam has taken a large portion of the country’s attention in the past months. since it was first published as headline news on the front pages of Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI), it has stayed and not left the consciousness of the nation.
if at all, it the issue has even grown from just the PDAF to now the DAP which while very different from each other, the DAP has taken the same sinister image of the PDAF.
corruption has once again become the number 1 issue among the people and the PDAF is the one and only poster boy for it, the DAP following closely.
the pork barrel in all its forms, in all its systems in whatever set of letters it gets resurrected into should be abolished :
1. The PDAF is a duplication of what line agencies and LGUs (local government units) are mandated to do. Line agencies like the DSWD (social welfare), DOH (health) and DPWH (public works) and others perform the same function as what the PDAF funds are “claimed” to be used for. LGUs are the elected local officials like the governor, mayor and barangay officials who are primarily responsible for day to day life in the barangays.
The PDAF are spent on the same projects and programs that line agencies and LGUs already have or are supposed to do.
2. The legislative branch of the government, House of Representatives (congressmen) and the Senate (senators) have a specific role as mandated by the constitution – they write the laws of the land, not perform the function of the line agencies and LGUs. It is the reason why they are called “lawmakers” or legislators, not government agency or local government executives.
Some legislators defend the PDAF on the basis of them “representing” their specific constituents and therefore are in a better position to know what the needs of their localities.
That thinking is infirm in two points – the lawmakers are the representatives of their localities in lawmaking, not in daily life improvements and needs which the line agencies and the LGUs perform on a daily basis.
The LGUs who actually live and serve right in the localities of the barangays are better if not as fully equipped as the lawmakers are in knowing what is needed by the constituents.
3. The PDAF institutes and nurtures the padrino system or the politics of patronage between the president of the country and the lawmakers. The control and disbursement of the PDAF has several gatekeepers. The first gatekeeper is the president who through the DBM allocates the amounts among the lawmakers and approves the projects which the PDAF fund will pay for. This system makes the lawmakers beholden to the president for his PDAF. The lawmaker may feel the need to please the president if not not go against the president and bend his principles on questions of legislation so that the president will return the favor and release his PDAF. The lawmaker might vote in favor of legislation not on its merits but just so to buy favor from the president. In fact some legislators have admitted as much on it where it apparently was rampant during the arroyo administration.
The president may also use the release of the PDAF as a bargaining chip to force lawmakers to go his way. This in fact has been one of the rumors during the impeachment trial of the Supreme Court chief justice where lawmakers who were not supportive of the impeachment charged their PDAF was being put on hold or its release delayed by the president.
4. The same padrino system and politics of patronage is also being instituted and nurtured between the lawmakers and voters. Unfortunately, it has been a habit of Pinoy voters to ask money from their lawmakers for their emergency needs like money for sickness or death for example. The lawmaker who gives them the money expects that the voter to whom he gives his money to will vote for him in the next election. At the same time, to ensure getting the money, the voter who receives the money promises to vote for the lawmaker.
We often here voters admit that they vote for a certain candidate and also campaign for the candidate among his/her friends and relatives because the specific congressman has “helped” him with his financial emergencies.
When this happens, the voter votes for the candidate not for his skills or record but because he was given money by the candidate.
5. Lawmakers have used the PDAF like their own re-election campaign fund. The PDAF is taxpayers money but the lawmakers have used it like it is their personal fund that they can use in any which way they want to, including getting them reelected.
Epal politics, where elected officials put their names and faces on ambulances, waiting sheds and buildings evolved from the PDAF. Epal politics make it appear that these came from them, like they spent their own money on them while in truth these are from their PDAF which are taxpayers money.
6. As shown in the most recent pork barrel scam that is occupying the minds of the nation, the PDAF is the petri dish for corruption. It has been used by the lawmakers to amass wealth for themselves with the help of a citizen like Janet Napoles.
Based on news reports, the money stolen by the lawmakers and Napoles is at minimum P10B! and this is just the initial report. there should be more to be revealed.
People see the PDAF is cancer itself that has invaded the pinoy soul. While most of us are not involved in it nor are the beneficiaries of it, we see it now as affecting our lives in a very major and negative way. It is very painful to hear our government leaders talk or complain about not having enough funds to hire more competent people to do the work, for facilities and equipment in government hospitals, or not enough bridges and roads and many other things lacking and yet now we know at least P10B of taxpayers’ money may have been siphoned off to the pockets of lawmakers and individuals.
We see more than corruption here, we also see grave injustice, the type that tarnishes the soul of the nation. To cleanse it, the PDAF needs to be abolished. maybe starting from a clean zero state will help us rebuild our souls.