Resign! Or better yet …

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It excites me that the indefatigable Scrap Pork Network is calling for the resignation of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, and Bong Revilla. It’s exciting because it is such a daring call coming from a core group that could not but problematize activists and activism before August 2013’s Million People March.

I do tend to think that more than at any other time this government has forced us to be more critical and to multitask. Because the promise of transparency really did open can upon can of worms, and one needs to be able to keep up, keep watch, take on and stick to the causes that matter.

And scrapping all forms of pork barrel – the whole system of discretionary funds and lump sums unaccounted for—is one such cause.

The impossibility


From Scrap Pork Network’s statement, “Time To Step Down, Senators”:

“The Office of the Ombudsman has announced it is set to file plunder and graft charges against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, and Bong Revilla. We eye this forward but slow movement in the meting out of justice with cautious approval.

“Current findings indicate massive kickbacks allegedly received by Enrile, amounting to P172.8 million; Estrada, P183.79 million; and Revilla, P242 million. We have every reason to believe that the rape of our national budget is on a much grander scale.

“What of the P10 billion allegedly skirted away by Janet Napoles? This may not even reflect the full picture of her shady transactions. Nonetheless, the P600 million in cumulative kickback allegedly received by the three senators is but the tip of the iceberg of fund scams. Seven months after our protest in Luneta, we believe that a full accounting by, and prosecution of, all involved, are overdue.

“In the face of overwhelming evidence, we are making an immediate call for the resignation of Senators Enrile, Estrada, and Revilla. This, too, is overdue. In other countries a mere hint of wrongdoing is enough for public officials to resign their posts.
“Senators, yield now.”

The call does not include what would be on the evening news, with SPN spokesperson Peachy Tan calling on the other Senators to take the side of the public on this one, and remove Enrile, Estrada and Revilla from their Senate seats.

This all seems like a lot of wishful thinking, of course. Estrada has said he will continue going to the Senate barring a Sandiganbayan warrant of arrest. Revilla, all the way in the Holy Land (yes Jerusalem) until Holy Week, has said that he will come home to face charges and appeal the Ombudsman’s decision. Enrile has been quiet.

The Senate leadership isn’t open to pushing for the three Senators’ leave of absence.

Senate President Franklin Drilon asserts that a leave of absence would be “a matter addressed to their conscience, for their own judgment.” Senator Chiz Escudero says it will be a “voluntary act” BY the three Senators.

But those three won’t resign. Neither will the rest of the Senate agree that kicking them out of such august halls is the right thing to do.
Now it gets really exciting.

Systemic dysfunction

Because even the SPN statement talks about how this is far larger than these three Senators.

“What of other operators similar to Napoles? It is estimated that an annual total of P200 billion is lost to rampant corruption and malversation of funds. The current administration’s ‘Daang Matuwid’ philosophy continues to be ignored by corrupt officials who steal budgets for food security or who chip away at monies intended for public infrastructure, defense systems, healthcare, education and social services.

“Discretionary spending by greedy politicians has no place in the Philippines. We maintain our original three demands: 1) Scrap All Pork, 2) Investigate those who have misused public funds, 3) Punish those found guilty of misusing public funds.
“Our law-makers are now appallingly, too often, our law-breakers.”

But also that explains why the Senate, Congress, this government, will not and cannot side with the people on the pork barrel scam. Because that scam is but a teeny tiny part of a system that they are all part of. It’s not to say that they are all guilty of spending taxpayers’ money; it’s to say that they are all complicit in keeping this system going, in whatever form, under whatever name.

They can go through the motions of Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearings, point to one senator, or three! But we all know that’s about all they will do. They will then gladly wait for the slooooow wheels of justice to roll, and we are all supposed to be happy with that.

Thank heavens that we aren’t, because at least we refuse this systemic dysfunction.

Possibilities

The other, more exciting possibility given these plunder cases against Enrile, Estrada, and Revilla is that they will decide to finally take everybody else down with them.
Seriously.

I read it on Mae Paner’s wall, and have waited for it to happen during those privilege speeches of Estrada and Revilla: talk about the pork barrel system once and for all.

Walk us through the system of palakasan and patronage politics. Walk us through the kind of politics that dictates who will get which amount and why. Walk us through what the other Senators are doing with their pork barrel funds.

Because these three Senators, as most every other worthy critic of this government, are correct in thinking:
Presidential allies were part of that Commission on Audit report on questionable pork barrel fund allocations. We have forgotten these names because media has just pressed on about Enrile, Estrada, and Revilla.

It would do the three Senators well to remind us about these names again. It won’t make them any less guilty—the Sandiganbayan will decide that – but it will tell us that they care enough about nation to actually side with us on this one.

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12 Comments

  1. Who can still be proud of being a Filipino with elected and appointed officials like these? MLQ predicted this a long time ago when he preferred ‘a government run like hell by Filipinos’. We were not ready then to govern ourselves. We did not grow up all these years. We are not even ready now. The Filipino does not know what is truly good for him. Look at his health. Listen to his logic. Read his text. Guess what he feeds his mind daily. If he really does not care about himself, what makes him an expert on what’s good for others?

  2. where did the rest of the 10B pork go? the total take of the 3 senators (if proven to be accurate) is just about 600 million -where did the 9.4 billion go? it is hardly that Napoles and her gang took all of them… and we are just talking of Napoles and her gang… how about other operators in the mold of Napoles… such a sorry state that this country has deteriorated into after the cory government. remember it was during cory’s government that the pork barrel started to get bigger in the CDF (Community Development Fund)?

  3. Katrina oh Katrina. You presumed the three Senators Gulity to ask them to resign. I am looking from a distance… and didn’t see a legitimate evidence from De Lima to think the same as you do.

  4. jose b. taganahan on

    I beg to dis-agree. Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Revilla are elected Senators of the Republic (although i never voted for them) and have fix term of office and unless removed by impeachment should not resign their position, unlike appointed officials in the executive branch of the government. These three (3) Senators has not been charged yet before the Sandiganbayan.

    You will remember that Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago did not even served the suspension order meted to her by the Sandiganbayan In Criminal Case No. 16698 filed before the Sandiganbayan on May 13, 1991 , Sen Miriam Defensor-Santiago was indicted!

  5. victor m. hernandez on

    resignation is only for the honorable, and if they really call themselves honorable, so what are they waiting for. If one adheres to the
    Bushido Code, then zeppuko is in order.
    What code of honor does these honorable senators adhere to?

  6. If this thing happened in Japan…all these kotongsans are now part of the Diet chronicles…eg Kotongsan Sexy RIP…Kotongsan Pogi SLN..Kotongsan Manong DOA..cause of demise ..voluntary death by name cleansing ritual.

    And they will be rememembered without shame. Their names will be etched in History books making their family walk heads up and their parents proud.

    Sometimes I asked why we resisted the Japanese occupations… just for my thoughts.

  7. The problem with the call for the resignation of the three senators is the whole scenario in itself of the pork barrel scam.

    It is very selective and doing trial by publicity.

    My belief is that that whole Congress and Malacanang are corrupt.

    And therefore, the pork barrel scam investigation and cases should cover everybody. All politicians, this has to be all out and not based on party affiliation.

    That is the real meaning of “daang matuwid”.

    Not “daang matuwid” as defined by Malacanang and yellow media.

  8. arthur keefe on

    We all know that corruption (theft by another name) is endemic here. Exposing and hopefully jailing those at the top will send an important message, but much corruption is at the local level . Indeed it permeates the governance of the country from Senate to Barangay and needs to be rooted out. From top slicing contract funds to allocating jobs to political cronies and relatives and the rampant vote buying at every election. The whole system is fully discredited.

  9. It may not mitigate their guilt, but Estrada, Revilla, and Enrile should start to talk now. They should tell who else are involved in this discretionary funds scam. They owe it to the people to come clean now and rid the government of other scammers. Most probably, the majority of the senators and congressmen who have received their PDAF in one way or another partook of the people’s money. And it should be no secret among them. It is called honor among thieves. It is time to tarnish that honor.

  10. Public support in this fight against corruption can never be overemphasized, after all this fight is for the public, for every Filipino. This is not just for the image of the administration. The morale of those who do the fighting will be energized. It is a big applause to their ears. Those on the other side will know the world is against them. Time to fold and come clean.