Church groups endorse people’s initiative vs. pork barrel

Aug. 20, 2014

TAGUM CITY – Branding it “a fight for greater accountability and transparency from our government leaders”, various church-based groups supported for a “people’s initiative” seeking for the total abolition of pork barrel system.

The Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP), in a statement, said that it “reaffirmed the constitutional principle that public office is a public trust.”

CEAP President Bro. Jun S. Erguiza, FSC on Tuesday on Tuesday urged the Filipino people to support the cause for transparency and

CEAP is the largest national association of Catholic educational institutions in the Philippines with 1,252 members that include universities and colleges offering academic and continuing education

“I call on reform-minded citizens  to support this cause—first by renewing personal contact with the poor and gaining insight into how these irregularities have hurt real people. Offenders should be punished,” Erguiza said.

He said: “(W)e must know whether a reformed pork barrel system can still be a way of bringing the blessings of good government to the most needy of our people, or whether it is so structured that its corrupt misuse in our political culture is inevitable and so its abolition is imperative.”

Erguiza lamented that amid the billion funds wasted and misused, “those ultimately misused are people who are poor and suffer deeply in their poverty,” adding “I personally support the call for an impartial and comprehensive investigation on the use of public funds.”

“Public funds ought to be used with utmost prudence, responsibility, transparency and accountability. Moreover, public funds ought to be ruled by an ethical approach which favors human beings,” CEAP said.

Church’s men lay group Knights of Columbus has also expressed support, saying: “It’s high time that government leaders must heed the voice of the Filipino people as we enjoined the whole nation calling for greater transparency.”

“We have heard enough from our leaders and we have witnessed how ill and corrupt our government is when it comes to public funds. This is the right time that as taxpayers and citizens, we will claim our right for the future of our children,” said Lino Arkanghel, 46, and a member of the Knights of Columbus.

Also, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) have endorsed the people’s initiative to eradicate the system if corruption in the government.

“We therefore fully endorse the people’s initiative aimed at legislating the proscription of funds made available to officials and subject to their discretion alone. We likewise look with displeasure at the practice of classifying as ‘intelligence funds’ — and therefore beyond the scope of audit and accountability — sizable amounts of public money,” the statement said.

CBCP president Lingayen Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said that they “have been informed of attempts to perpetuate the system through the lump sums in the national budget under various pretexts.”

Villegas is pointing to the proposal in Congress to revise the legal interpretation of “savings” in contrast to the Supreme Court’s definition as contained in its recent decision regarding DAP.

“All measures our citizens take, provided these are moral, peaceful and lawful, aimed at curbing corruption and the irresponsible uses of public funds have our full support. In fact, many of the members of our clergy and our lay leaders are at the forefront of these initiatives,” Villegas said.

“You cannot serve both God and money. We choose to serve God and we cannot countenance the idolization of money, especially when it takes the form of unfettered access to the money of the people,” Villegas added. (

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