For what really is this goddamn pork barrel?  Why is this a modus vivendi in our legislative system, first of all?

Davao Today

 Ay salamat, at last the matter of the so-called Pork Barrel will be a subject of discussion and possibly heated debate among members of Congress — in the Senate and in the lower House.  I have long longed to give my piece of mind regarding this contemptuous state of affairs in our government system.

Now, it’s a big scam that has brought us to the attention of this longstanding aversion!  The whistleblower should not lose heart in the course of the investigation.  He/she should brace himself/herself, rather she should be accorded ample protection by the Department of Justice (DOJ).  He/she should not go the way of the previous other whistleblowers who faded away.  Or were made to fade out disgustingly by the concerned government investigating bodies.

For what really is this goddamn pork barrel?  Why is this a modus vivendi in our legislative system, first of all?

For most everyone among our citizenry this mysterious pest may not have meant anything, neither has it caught any attention.  That’s the trouble with a system of governance whereby everything that transpires within the offices, chambers and halls of  government is done high up in the clouds above the masses of  its constituents, apart from the knowledge and understanding of the ordinary people on the ground.

In the first place, the name pork barrel already defies comprehension by the common tao.   It is in a foreign tongue and it is clothed in a kind of figurative phrase that doubly escapes understanding by the ordinary people.

Secondly, this pork barrel is not  an original Filipino concept.  It is, like all other things in our political and cultural reality, copied from the West!– from the American political system! Pastilan!  And like all other things copied from the Americans, it is very elitist!

It is an incongruity!

As an elitist stratagem, it aims to pamper a class of people in society.  It proceeds from a desire to consolidate support for the Chief Executive’s legislative agenda in Congress.  It is not unlike a “bonus system” or a “spoils system”.  It therefore gratifies the whimsical interests of both  the grantor and the grantee.

On the part of the legislators, their foremost preoccupation is how to strategize ways by which the money  can be utilized for winning in the next elections.

Of course, they feel awkward about the term pork barrel.  It smacks of derogatory connotations.  And across the years, the fund has changed clothes, naming it euphemistically with deceitful phrase that  is purportedly for the delivery of projects, programs and  services for the legislators’ respective constituents.  But it fails to  mask its primary purpose as a tool for perpetuating themselves in office.  And so, from the viewpoint of the legislators, as much as possible, think up of very creative ways that it appears to have been be used for worthy  projects, that it goes to what it has been avowedly intended for!

But our  “honorable” ladies and gentlemen in Congress also nurture the desire to be able to take a sizable “share” of the funds strictly for personal gain  something that allows for personal aggrandizement.    And this is where the scam begins.

In essence, the pork barrel system is an open door  to graft and corruption.

We love to copy, or rather adopt, what the Americans do.  But we always fail to realize our dissimilarity with the American in sensibilities and in temperament.  Our culture is a culture of a poor third world country.  We should have adopted a political set up that conforms with how our leaders ought to follow as a lifestyle.

We ought not adopt a legislative system like that of the Americans. We should not have used English in the legislative hall whereby what they deliberate on and what the output of their deliberations come to is incomprehensible to the vast majority.  The pretensions of  “transparency” become some kind of  a “mystery”.

We ought not necessarily adopt an electoral system like that of the Americans, whereby only the moneyed and the established political families can be elected as legislators.  Behold, the same family names are invariably there in the political arena — Roxas, Osmena, Recto, Macapagal, Marcos, Enrile, Magsaysay, Aquino, Estrada, etcetera!  Porbida!

WE ought to eradicate once and for all this pork barrel system!  This is a perversion! Inherently immoral!  Obnoxiously elitist!  Detestably discriminatory!  Disgustingly undemocratic and unFilipino!

Don J. Pagusara is a native of Mindanao, a multi-awarded author and a Palanca-awardee.

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