Ouch! Double ouch!
This must be the feeling of some government officials after reading the head of this column. Well, don’t look at me. That’s actually the proposal of a reader, Rocky Avila, not mine. Sending them to jail, shaming them in public or fining them might not stop venalities in government, including the misuse of pork barrel. However, striking at their manhood might, what with the macho mentality of most of Filipinos.
Avila was reacting to my previous column (The Philippines’ lengua prangka),recounting the bill filed by former Camarines Sur Rep. Leopoldo San Buenaventura (sorry, I decanonized him in that column) seeking to castrate habitual sex offenders. That bill was archived by the House Committee on Justice which considered the punishment “cruel and inhuman.”
Well, Avila said he and San Buenaventura were on the same page when it comes to castration. Avila said castration was a common practice in his birthplace of Paoay, Ilocos Norte. He noted, however, that castration was done by local cowboys on bulls.
“Why do this to those innocent beasts of burden? Instead of performing this procedure to those poor animals who did nothing wrong, what if they do it to members of the ‘Tanggapan & Co., Ltd.?’” he asked. (For those who didn’t read my previous column, which was about the Linggo ng Wika, I wrote that venal officials receive (tumatanggap) bribes because they are working in an office or “tanggapan.”)
Avila evidently believes that officials who accept bribes or squander public funds for their personal use are of the same criminal level as recidivists of sex offenses—they should all be castrated, unlike San Buenaventura’s bill that limits this (ouch!) punishment to the former. Many might agree with Avila. There’s growing anger among the citizenry, especially with the release of the report of the Commission on Audit on the mind-boggling misuse of pork by our legislators. They are so angry that they might agree to the castrating of the guilty.
The COA audit report appears to have changed the stand of some lawmakers opposing the investigation by the House or the Senate of the use of bogus non-government organizations (NGOs) as conduits for their Priority Development Assistance Fund, the sweet-sounding name for their pork. Some, like Senators Koko Pimentel and Grace Poe have joined Sen. Chiz Escudero in seeking a Senate inquiry into the scandal even if the National Bureau of Investigation hasn’t finished yet its probe.
A mere inquiry might not suffice to satisfy the people who are now craving for blood. If abolition of pork is not immediately possible, then lawmakers should consider a moratorium on “pork” spending while they consider reforms – if that’s possible. I recall that “pork” was revived during the term of President Cory. However, she stopped the practice in pre-martial law Congress where lawmakers received their pork in cash. Instead, she directed that all “pork “for projects identified by lawmakers be channeled thru NGOs because of her lack of trust in politicians. She was well-meaning but her good intentions didn’t stop scheming politicians from forming their own NGOs. Perhaps, had she not acceded to the demand of politicians for the revival of the pork barrel, we wouldn’t have the problems we’re facing now.
Despite the growing outcry against the abuses on the use of pork, President Benigno Simeon (BS) Aquino remains steadfast in defending it. Some may wonder about this stance by somebody whose campaign slogan was to stamp out corruption. Please be kind to our very popular (according to surveys) president’s squealing for the retention of the pork. He’s just being true to his name (BS) and calling (politics). Any shot at the pork of lawmakers is a shot against him. He has a much bigger pork, remember?
Allergic to Ilocanos?
Speaking of the President, he cancelled a scheduled trip to Cervantes, Ilocos Sur, last Thursday for the inauguration of the P191.3-million Aluling Bridge linking this town to Tandian, Mt. Province. Deputy Presidential Spokesman Abigail Valte said he had an allergy attack.
I remember that he also failed to attend a campaign rally in the Ilocos Region for his Team PNoy candidates last April. I was inclined to believe that he’s actually allergic to Ilocanos. (BTW, I’m a full-blooded Ilocano from Lupao, Nueva Ecija.) To this day, he believes that the Marcoses were behind the plot that led to the assassination of his father and namesake.
Well, well, well, my initial suspicion was immediately banished when Valte added that the allergy attack could have been triggered by his contact with flowers. Now. that’s a more believable alibi. After all, the President is still a bachelor and he’s expected to be surrounded by flowers. Hey, wait a minute! Are Valte and I on the same wave length?