AN anti-crime watchdog and a Catholic bishop on Friday backed calls for a “people power” movement for the abolition of pork barrel funds and the Palace-initiated Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
In separate statements, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz and the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) said moves to have the controversial fund programs abolished will only be realized through “people power.”
Cruz backed the call of former Supreme Court chief justice Reynato Puno for a people’s initiative to do away with the PDAF and other Brillantes doubts the success of a PI, which he called “premature” because the Supreme Court hearings on the constitutionality of PDAF and DAP, but Cruz said Brillantes is not the one to make the final decision.
He pointed out that only the Supreme Court and Congress can decide whether to have the pork barrel or DAP scrapped.
“I don’t think this incumbent chairman of the Comelec can say what to do and what not to do,” he said.
He claimed that the only way to reach the required number of signatures is through continuous campaigns and protest actions.
VACC founding chairman Dante Jimenez supports Puno’s suggestion but raised doubts on the success of the move since it would involve the Comelec.
He said the poll body is tainted with fraudulent practices.
Jimenez noted that since President Benigno Aquino 3rd continues to turn a deaf ear to the call of the people against pork funds, “people power” should now be resorted to.
“There is this ugly feeling among the people now that as more and more explosive revelations and wrongdoings are being uncovered by the misuse of PDAF or DAP, there is not anymore a branch of government they could trust — not the Legislative, not the Executive and now not even the Judiciary,” Jimenez said.
The VACC chair noted that the people are losing hope that the government will make any genuine effort to do away with the pork barrel which he said has become the root of all forms of corruption and patronage politics in the country.
“We, the people felt betrayed. All along, the public officials whom we have elected into positions of trust have been cheating on us and committing plunder?” Jimenez said.
He said the only option left is genuine people power to show Malacañang the true voice of the masses.
“We need a government system where power-greedy political dynasties are banned and heinous crimes like plunder, fraud and senseless killings that have characterized this kind of government are punished not rewarded,” Jimenez said.
Churches and archdioceses all over the country rang their bells at 1 p.m. on Friday to “drive away evil spirits” in the government.
Cruz said the bells pealed in 16 dioceses, five archdioceses and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, various religious organizations, Solidarity Philippines, Promotion of Church of Church People Response, National Alliance Against Pork barrel, Aglipayan Church and some other Non-Governmental Organizations.
Cruz said there are three reasons for ringing the church bells. The first is to call for people to attend the mass; second is to call for people to attend a prayer for a wake; and third is to “take away evil spirits.”