MALAYA COLUMN: THE MOST EMBARRASSING OF ALL PRESIDENTS!


MANILA, SEPTEMBER 16, 2013
(MALAYA) WRITTEN SEPTEMBER 10, 2013 BY NESTOR MATA - ‘After three years, two months and 10 days in power, President Noynoy has created the biggest political scandal ever that has enraged Filipinos here and abroad.’

NOYNOY Aquino is the most embarrassing president of our lifetime. And that is saying something, since my life as a journalist so far has encompassed 11 presidents from Manuel A. Roxas, Elpidio Quirino, Ramon Magsaysay, Carlos P. Garcia, Diosdado Macapagal, Ferdinand E. Marcos, Corazon C. Aquino, Fidel V. Ramos, Joseph E. Estrada, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to Benigno C. Aquino, III, otherwise known as “Noynoy Aquino.”

A few of them may have brought embarrassment to the nation, but in Noynoy Aquino’s case, he embarrassed not only the country, but also himself and all the unquestioning, compliant, complicit, fools around him and those who elected him.

After three years, two months and 10 days in the seat of power at Malacañan Palace, he clearly revealed his incapacity to lead a country now divided by partisan politics and a government sullied by corruption and plunder of millions and millions and millions of the people’s money.

Of course, we’re referring to the misuse, misallocation of billions of public funds from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), better known as the “Pork Barrel Fund” to senators and congressmen, and Aquino’s own unexamined and unaudited presidential “pork funds” of over P1-trillion, the biggest political scandal ever that has enraged the nation.

Yet, whenever something like this is exposed for the world to see, there is the ever arrogant, self-absorbed, narcissistic Noynoy Aquino saying it must be someone else’s fault. And usually, it would be the fault – you guessed it! – of President Marcos or President Arroyo. His “blame everybody else” mantra is utterly disgusting, but this time it won’t work.

Filipinos in the country and abroad are angry. Here in Manila, they demonstrated against the pork barrel plunder during “One Million March” at the Rizal Park last August 26. Aquino tried to preempt it with his announcement of “abolition” of the pork barrel allocations in the national budget, but he failed.

A much bigger multi-sectoral demonstration against the massive corruption at the top will be staged tomorrow, September 11, at the EDSA Shrine. This time it will be an “inter-faith” prayer vigil by members of the Catholic Church and other religious organizations like the Philippine Council for Evangelical Churches, youth groups, militants and even from the business sector. (Actually, the first of a series of prayer vigils started yesterday when the Catholic Church’s bishops called for a “Day of Atonement” for what they described as the “worsening social cancer of corruption” across the country.)

On Friday, September 13, militant cause-oriented groups are staging a mass action against the pork barrel scam at the Rizal Park. Led by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), the groups are going to call for the abolition of the pork barrel funds and instead for the allocation of the taxpayers’ money to public hospitals, schools, housing and other social service programs.

Across the world, millions of angry overseas Filipino workers are sending a clear message to the Aquino government by suspending their remittances on September 19, which organizers dubbed as “Zero-Remittance Day” in support of the growing nationwide movement to abolish the pork barrel system. According to Migrante International, at least 112 Filipino migrant organizations from all over the globe had agreed not to send their hard-earned money to their families in the Philippines on that day.

By the way, OFWs sent home $10.7 billion in the first half of 2013, higher than 5.6 percent a year ago, according to Bangko Sentral. This means that on a daily basis, the more than 10 million Filipino migrants and contract workers sent an average of $58 million or more than P2.5 million a day to the Philippines during a six-month period.

Actually, according a report of the Commission of Audit (COA), 12 senators and 180 congressmen funneled, through the Department of Budget Management, P6.2 billion in pork barrel funds to questionable, even non-existent, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) from 2007 to 2009. But, not surprisingly, this COA report did not include data beyond 2009, that is, Aquino’s first three years in office) from 2010 to 2013 , which may bring the total to over ten billion pesos, not to mention the President’s own P1-trillion unaccounted and unaudited pork barrel allocations.

This reminded an analyst of how Aquino “misused and abused” his pork funds “to bribe members of Congress to impeach and remove Renato Corona, an Arroyo-appointed Supreme Court chief justice, and to ram through the widely opposed population control law, whose validity is now under question before the High Court.”

The pork barrel funds in the national budget are allocated to the President and members of both houses of Congress to help address immediate social and economic needs of their constituencies.

Each senator is allotted P200 million while each congressman P70 million. However, it has been revealed that instead of going to the intended beneficiaries very substantial amounts of the benefits are creamed off as “commissions” ( or, to put it bluntly, the “kickbacks” for all “senatongs” and “tongressmen”) for the lawmakers and the facilitators from the implementing agencies of the government.

Well, now that the stench of the pork scandalous barrel scam is spreading all over the country and across the globe, and more and more people are outraged by the widespread corruption, patronage politics and social injustice in the Aquino government, the time has come for all those who have embarrassingly enmeshed themselves in the web of corruption to depart quietly into the night!

***

Quote of the Day: “Vast power breeds political corruption and incites the people to rebellion!” – Anonymous Political Commenter

Thought of the Day: “The flood of money that gushes in politics today is a pollution of democracy.” – Theodore White. -


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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