President Benigno Simeon (BS) Aquino 3rd was obviously miffed that the protesters also called for the abolition his pork barrel. He said that there had never been any report of anomalies in his use of the President’s Social Fund and other sources of pork so why were the Luneta rallyists criticizing him?
The President’s indignation is righteous. He could easily produce proofs of his judicious use of his multi-billion-peso pork barrel. He has said time and again that he would never sully his parents’ legacy by engaging in corrupt practices. With his integrity, the President was correct in wondering why the people are also clamoring for the abolition of his pork. He wants to keep it and with his high moral values, there’s no need to institute reforms on its use as long as he’s in Malacanang.
But BS Aquino will be in the Palace for only three more years. What will happen after that? What if his successor who may be more competent won’t be as honest as he is?
Well, that will no longer be the problem of BS Aquino. That will be for the people to resolve when he’s gone. He’s concerned only about his administration, not on matters beyond it, and no doubts should ever be raised on his use of the pork while he’s the president.
Malacanang was also claiming that it was on the same side with the protesters. Yes, they see eye-to-eye insofar as the “abolition” of Congress’s pork barrel is concerned.
However, the abolition of the president’s pork is an altogether another matter.
Malacanang will fight tooth-and-nail to keep it.No amount of public opinion could sway BS Aquino from giving it up.
If you noted, I put the word “abolition” in quotes because I doubt that we’ll be seeing its demise soon. The alacrity with which congressmen and senators supported the abolition made me believe that BS Aquino wasn’t being candid with his “bosses.” An honest-to-goodness abolition of the pork would have triggered a revolt by congressmen. That they were even agreeing with the president on its abolition is highly suspicious. Their acquiescence was too good to be true.
On a related issue Malacanang was also irritated by talks that it was giving a VIP treatment to Janet Lim Napoles who surrendered to BS Aquino Wednesday. She wasn’t presented to media, as most arrested suspects were. The Palace couldn’t understand why media would suspect that it was treating Napoles like royalty. The President is beyond suspicion, remember? He’s the son of Ninoy Aquino and President Cory, remember? With such a lineage, he and his avid supporters couldn’t understand why there are now doubts on his dealing with Napoles. Such suspicions will mount should she be made a state witness—against minority senators?
Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago said Napoles couldn’t be made a state witness because she was the mastermind of the whole scheme. Incidentally, Senator Miriam wrote a letter to Senate President Franklin M. Drilon (FMD) seeking an extension of her sick leave because of her chronic fatigue syndrome. That letter was marked “personal and confidential” but copies were given to media.
Speaking of the Senate, Sen. TG Guingona made a great improvement when he presided Thursday over the Blue Ribbon inquiry into the alleged P10-billion pork scam perpetrated by Napoles. This time around, Guingona is more circumspect in his utterances, especially in his answers to questions by Senate reporters. In the previous Congress, Guingona made conclusions even while the Blue Ribbon probe was ongoing. Now, he’s telling media to wait for the committee report for its findings and recommendations. He was also correct in encouraging the Commission on Audit to name names, which COA did. Oh well, one swallow does not a summer make but if he keeps this up, he’ll find this Congress Insider raving at his performance.
One thing is sure though. Any Blue Ribbon committee findings would not contain anything derogatory to Sen. Ralph Recto. His name was mentioned in the COA report as the alleged source of the pork fund released to a questionable non-government organization. However, as acknowledged by COA, he did not sign any request, endorsement, contract or any piece of paper related to the fund release. He said during the inquiry that a search done by the Department of Budget Management showed there’s no signed official request from him for the funding erroneously attributed to him.