Pork not toxic per se

Rene Saguisag

Rene Saguisag

Pork is not toxic per se. See Sen. Bob Byrd and West Virginia. So instead of saying an egg is rotten, we should be trying to lay better ones. I may want pork allocated to doubling teachers’ salaries and supporting poor Ivy League scholars, for starters.
My wife, who I lost on November 8, 2007, and I, were both privileged to be Fulbrighters. (Sen. Fulbright had this brilliant idea of allocating surplus government money for scholarships.)

So we have also lost Chief Justice Andre Narvasa. On going home Tuesday night, I saw a TV crawler saying the University of Sto. Tomas would have a Mass for CJ Andre (a UST scholar who landed No. 2 in the bar tests and was its former Dean).

Too little too late?
Earlier, nothing I had noted for an alum who had served the country long and well. UST had gone on record in 2000 as denouncing him for not abandoning Prez Erap when the hooting throng, mainly of the Metro Manila religious and social elite wanted everyone, to despise him, seen as a womanizing crook.

But, a lawyer is sworn to undertake the defense of an accused regardless of his personal opinion as to his guilt, and therefore to take seriously the presumption of innocence in the Bill of Rights and the International Declaration of Human Rights. Charged with non-bailable murder, the defense can show ethically that only bailable homicide is what a case is all about.

Andre became a household world as General Counsel in ably probing the salvaging of Ninoy Aquino in 1983.

Grateful to Benedictines
I will forever be grateful to the Benedictines for taking in my wife on November 8, 2007 after our unsayable family tragedy. My wife Dulce paled beside CJ Andre but what would UST have lost if right off it had taken a stand in sympathy of a great alum? There would have been the poignancy of its recantation for its UnChristian Unprofessional denunciation of the CJ more than a decade earlier.

The wake in Mt. Carmel was fine but how much better it would have been if it had been held in UST, which should posthumously recognize a good son.

On November 23, the UST alum Association headed by Justice Oscar Herrera Jr. may want to consider in his class’s golden jubilee correcting the situation by some public tribute to a great son named by his folks after Gat Andres Bonifacio. In all my dealings with him, he never said anything in remonstrance. So old school. Class. Lo cortes no quita lo valiente.

Also gone is Fr. Joe Dizon, who I might have last seen at the tarmac last August when we honored Ninoy Aquino. He looked and sounded unwell to me then. Diabetes I see. Many a time during martial law, kapit-bisig we were, as we fought a dictator.

“To be 70 again”
Last Saturday was more festive. Kith and kin had an asalto for Jun Factoran on his 70th (70, same with his classmate Jojobama Binay; when Holmes espied a sweet young thing, at 93, he sighed, “oh, to be 70 again.”)

At the asalto was Joker exchanging pleasantries with Ballsy and Pinky with Eldon and Manolo, in our table. But, Panginoong Joker sat in another. In yet another table was Jojobama, pointed to by a fan as the highest official of the land then present. How true. Hanggang Cabinet at Senado lang kami.

Fely, wife of Joker, asked me to help drum up support for Kim Gargar, the environmentalist arrested by the military in Mati, Davao. Years ago, I might have flown down forthwith but I now have health issues, like many TGIFs (Tigulang Gurang Ingkong Frat members) but we do have younger members of Mabini, like Fely; we associate ourselves with the Free Kim Movement. On pork, we may differ.

What to do with pork
A good number say pork must be outlawed. Who then decides what to do with it if not the elected accountable? The unelected non-accountable? Again, pork, not toxic per se.

Yes, why not allocate pork to double the pay of public school teachers? Or that anyone admitted into the Ivy League would be financially supported if need be? Strengthen national health care? And start a pension program. Instead of prosecute, prosecute, prosecute, for decades.

Again, the case of Lenny Villa, killed in frat hazing on Feb. 11, 1991, still pending, in the Supreme Court (SC), which does not comply with the accounting and reporting requirements of its billions in the Judiciary Development Fund started in 1984. Executive Judges all over the land are supposed to get quarterly reports but no stude of mine has produced a copy, to pass.

Go to Br. 19 of the Manila Metropolitan Trial Court and weep (not the fault of the diligent Judge and personnel). The nation’s capital has no decent courthouse, a continuing shame and scandal. No majesty at all.

The unelected Justices may not be the best judge of how to deal with pork as an institutional arrangement given its silence on the Judiciary Development Fund collections since 1984 under P.D. No. 1949. Does the money go to wellness, travel, vehicles and Baguio mansions not intended by P.D. No. 1949? Sec. 3 of the Decree says: “The Commission on Audit through the Auditor of the SC . . . shall quarterly audit the receipts, revenues, uses, disbursements and expenditures of the Fund, and shall submit the appropriate report in writing to the Chairman of the COA and to the Chief Justice, . . . copy furnished the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeals and all Executive Judges.” Any stude of mine producing a copy of a 2013 report within the month I will pass.

Are we in the proper forum given policy considerations? The search for a superior institutional arrangement continues.


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  1. Nov. 09/2013

    Ka Rene,

    Nais ko sana paniwalaan ang ang nilahad mo na ang Pork ay di Lason, at binanggit mo ang pag gamit ng Pork sa Amerika para makatulong sa mga iskolar ng Fulbright. Gaya mo matagal karin naging Senador, sana nga isa ka sa nakasusog ng tamang batas para sa makatarungang pagamit ng Pork para sa kapakanan ng naka raraming mamamayan. Pero sa ngayon bilang isa ka ng sibilyan ito’y pawang panaginip na lang.

    Alam na alam mo paano pinag-papapasasaan ng mga Kongresmen at Senador ang Pork, hindi na kailangang ipaliwanag sayo kung paano binubulsa ng mga
    gahamang mambabatas ang Pork. Ginagamit nila rin ang Kaban ng Bayan para
    maka panatili sa Tronong kina luluklukan nila bilang Mambabatas at
    kung nasa huling termino na sila, ang asawa at anak o sino mang kamag anak ang
    ipapalit. Pero ang buong Sambayanan ay patuloy sa paghihikahos sa kawalan, sa kadahilanang ang pera para sa kaunlaran ng Bayan ay binibulsa ng mga Kurakot.

    Gaya mo, si P’noy ay dati ring Kongresman at Senador at alam na alam din paano
    ang modus sa pagnanakaw ng Pdaf, DAP.

    Sana’y huwag kang magbulagbulagan sa malinaw na walang habas na pagamit ni
    penoy ng pera ng Bayan para bilhin ang buong Kongreso at Senado, at dinagdag-
    an pa ng insulto at asin ang sugat ng magdadag pa ng pabuya para sa mga bumuto ng guilty sa impeachment ni Corona.

    Alam na alam mo rin bilang isang magaling at mapanuring abogado na Labag sa
    Batas ang DAP dahil walang karampatang batas na umiiral sa saligang Batas na
    nagbibigay pahintulot kay Pnoy para ipamudmod sa mga kakilala na niyang mga kriminal na magnanakaw sa kaban ng Bayan. Labag sa moralidad ang gawaing
    panunuhol lalo’t hindi mo pera ang ipinamimigay mo bagkus sa amo mo. Hindi
    man ikaw magnanakaw o nagnanakaw pero bilang bantay ng Kaban, katungkulan
    mo para pangalagaan at ingatan ang Perang ipinag-katiwala sayo. Alam na
    alam mo at ni Pnoy na rin kung gaano kawalanghiya sa pagnanakaw ang maraming
    mambabatas, hindi makatarungan parin sabihin na hahabulin mo ang mga
    magnanakaw matapos mong bigyan ng lagay, Hindi ba dapat kung sino
    ang ingat Yaman ay siyang managot at magbayad ng mga naibulsang Pondo ng

    Hindi tamang ihambing ang estados unidos at gobyerno ng Pilipinas sa paggamit
    ng Pork, pinatatawa mo ako ginoong rene, sayang ka, nasa huling panahon
    ka na ng paglalakbay dito sa mundo, dapat kung pwede gabayan mo si Pnoy
    sa tamang Landas ng tuwid na daan. Ito ang napakandang aral na pwede mong
    iwanan sa bayan, kung pwede mo gawin? Ang estados unidos ay napakataas ng
    ng pagpapahalaga sa moralidad sa tamang pag gamit ng kanilang Pondo.



  2. hi senator saguisag ,this is a good explanation regarding PDAF very well explained and easy to understand. Let our people do the check and balance by reporting to the media for every projects accomplished on their areas., if their public servant is a crook or thief report to the media .

  3. Elmer Gendrano on

    Dear kabayan , I am also from Quezon province, of all the opinion writers at your paper, you are the only one I read because sad to say all others are trash and don’t make sense, they criticize without thinking and do not offer any realistic solution to the problem especially R. Tiglao who I later learned to be a former official of former pres G. arroyo and I understand his diatribes against Pnoy. Your reasoning on the pork barrel issue is very enlightening amidst all the hooplah against it, will somebody explain that to a crowd blinded by the Napoles scandal? I also admire your sense on former CJ Andres Narvasa, UST was of line here, they should rectify this unChristian treatment of an honorable man. The Supreme Court should put their house in order, those unresolved cases pending on their courts must be decided NOW and not be postponed indefinitely, They must prioritize and give more time and attention to t hose cases affecting our people or impacting majority of our fellow Filipinos .

  4. That’s why system & audit is important in every aspect of our govt. We cannot rely on our leaders and officials. Every law that was made in our land was done in order to improve/protect us. However, what is happening is the reverse. We have church leaders who preach simpleness and honesty but acted otherwise. Same with our elected officials who promise everything to improve our life and ended up robbing us. We have Justices who are bound to upheld the law, only to sell it to highest bidder. We have also Police & Military Officers whose task is to protect us but choose to protect only the bigwigs and connive w/ the underworld characters. This is happening because as Christians we lose our faith to Jesus. We forgot his teaching, We forgot to love one another . As a result, we become hypocrite. We are lost. Its time to regain our faith. Try to find God is our heart and maybe tomorrow is different.

  5. Ur right sir rene. the unelected supreme court is not qualified to judge on the constitionality of the DAP as the SC also has its own pork barrel aka the judiciary fund coming from all kinds of legal fees which remained unaccounted and untouched by COA. Also the unelected SC from day one of its existence is the reason of the monstrous delays in court hearings as it allows all kind of motions although it is clearly for delaying tactics. There is a saying that in order to break the rules you must first master it. Well veteran Lawyers in cahoots with the judges have mastered the 1950 Rules of Court on how to go around it and that is why the Ampatuan, Ruby Barrameda, Ecleo, Atimonan Massacre, Imelda Marcos and dozens of high profile cases involving rich and politically powerful personas remains in the freezer. Justice thru the Rule of Law should be the cheapest and the fastest way in a democracy but it is completely the other way around. Justice in the Phil. is the costliest and depending on whose side are the moneyed- it is either fast and slow..