Aquino Suspends Pork Barrel
By N Mark Castro
In light of the ongoing controversy that has so rocked our nation, in light of the intricate details of a system that has become endemic in the august halls of our Senate and Congress, in light of the highly controversial case of greed that has compromised the integrity of our elected lawmakers, in light of the clamor of the people of our nation, and in light of the tears that fall from heaven brought by tropical storm Maring, I, Benigno Aquino, III, duly elected 15th president of the Republic of the Philippines, do hereby suspend the release of any and all pending allocation of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), which is now nationally called as Pork Barrel, until independent investigations and the courts have cleared any and all people involved in this rumoured scandal.
Though we cannot fault the spirit by which the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) has been created, we certainly could create “more restriction, wide safeguards and better monitoring of the implementation” of projects,” including a live update on the disbursement process which the entire public — as stakeholders — can view, review, and audit, aside from our government institutions.
Evidently, we can no longer rely on the different branches of our government alone to police its own ranks, to maintain the spirit of check and balance, as we have discovered the deeply embedded corruption that we have all inherited from the past. Inasmuch as there are undoubtedly meaningful and sincere Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that have worked well with the government, there is a higher calling that we must impose to arrest the continued cancerous growth of our decaying system. What we see instead are the abuse of the very same system that we had hoped could deliver the assistance to our people in a swifter manner.
Hence, in order to separate the grain from the chaff, I have decided to suspend the Pork Barrel to eliminate any and all presumption of collusion. As records will show, I have used to the fullest extent my own allocation of the Pork Barrel to projects I deem fit worthy of funding. Let my own records show as well how each and every centavo was spent and how the projects have been completed, including those that are still ongoing. Let the Commission on Audit (COA), which has done a tremendous job in bringing to light their records, audit my office as well.
Wala ho ako’ng kinakailangang itago dahil handa po ako’ng humarap — kasama ng aking mga kasama sa administrasyon — pagdating sa pagserbisyo sa inyo, na aking ilang beses ng tinawag na Boss. Kung kaya’t ang desisyon na ito’y isang malakas na sigaw upang ipaalam sa ating taong bayan na kayo’y naririnig ko. Higit pa riyan, ito’y aking inaaksyunan. (I do not need to hide anything as I am prepared to face — together with the people under my administration — when it comes to my service to you, the ones I call my Boss. This is why this decision is a loud statement to let you know that I hear you. More than that, I act upon your plea.)
Kung kaya’t sa ating mga mambabatas na nasasangkot sa akusasyon na ito, kayo’y aking hinihikayat na sagutin ang mga katanungan ng ating bayan. (Which is why I say to the lawmakers accused and involved on this issue, I encourage you to answer the questions of our people.)
At sa iyo, Janet Napoles, ang panawagan ko’y harapin mo din ang mga katanungan ng ating bayan. Kung ikaw ay nangangambala sa iyo’ng kapakanan, ako mismo ang nagsasabi na ikaw ay pro-protektahan namin upang iyo’ng maikwento sa korte ang mga naging kasabwat sa usapin na ito. Kung paano ka hanapin ng ating sambayanan, ganoon din ang pag-protekta sa iyo ng sambayanan upang malaman ng lahat na wala tayo’ng kikilingan sa isyu na ito. (As for you Janet Napoles, I am ordering you to face the question of our countrymen. If you are worried about your safety, I am personally telling you that you will be protected so that you may have a chance to speak in the courts and reveal those that have been involved on this issue. How the entire country searches for you now will be the same tenacity we will have in protecting you so that everyone will know that we will show no favor to anyone involved.)
Dahil sa patuloy mong pagtago, ipinangangako ko bilang Presidente, wala kang mapupuntahan sa ating pitong libo’t isang isla sa Pilipinas na hindi makakarinig ng aming sigaw. Ito’y hindi sigaw ng pulitika. Ito’y sigaw ng bayan. (But with your continued flight from justice, I am promising you as the president, there is no place in the entire 7,100 islands of the Philippines where people won’t hear our plea. This is not a political statement or a political scream.
This is the scream of our nation.
Jeane Napoles, iha, dahil sa usapin ukol sa pagkalaki-laking pera ng bayan na kung saan ang delicadeza mo ay nasasali dito, nais kong ibigay sa iyo ang payo na hindi nakukuha sa kagamitan ang tunay na karangyaan, lalu’t na kung ito’y galing sa pawis ng ating mamamayan. Daig mo pa si Kris na sa kabila ng kung anu-ano nya’ng kinasangkutan, ang pera nya’ng ginamit ay galing sa kanyang sariling sikap bilang isang artista. (Jeane Napoles, child, due to the large amount of public fund allegedly involved in your lifestyle that is now being checked and monitored by the public, I am giving you an unsolicited advice as your elder, true wealth is not found in branded things, especially if this comes from the sweat of our taxpaying people.)
Bilang inyo’ng ibinotong Presidente, ang aking magagawa ay aksyunan ang inyong hinaing, ngunit mayroon pong limitasyon sa ilalim ng batas ang aking magagawa, kung kaya’t nawa’y inyong paunlakan na sa pagsuspindi ng Pork Barrel ay ito’y maging simula kung saan man ito patungo hanggang ang ating korte ay magdiklara ng angkop na desisyon dito. (As your elected president, the most that I can do is to act upon your plea, but there are limitations as to what I can do under the law, which is why I am requesting your indulgence in supporting the suspension of the Pork Barrel as a first step to wherever it may lead, until our courts provide the appropriate decision based on my recommendations.)
Come next week, I will send to the house a bill to scrap and abolish the Pork Barrel to continue with the suspension I have made. This will be a heated debate in Congress and in the Senate, but a first step towards what our people want. Regardless of the merit of the current and soiled system, there are other ways by which services can be delivered to the people.
I stand for what our people want. I stand for what it is right. I stand for what is moral; the very same legacy that has caused the early demise of my father, the very same legacy that was continued by my mother, and the very same legacy by which I am held accountable by the people that elected me.
With this decision that I hereby sign, I will also join the people in your march for good governance and transparency of those that you have elected.
Let us be judged according to our records, according to our actions, and according to the law.
I, Benigno Aquino III, duly elected 15th president of the Republic of the Philippines, declare my unequivocal support to the people of the Philippines, my boss.
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What a speech!
I thought, FINALLY, the people at the (Mis)-Communications Department got one right.
To see a president act upon the will of the people, to go against the tide of political expediency, to stand up and fight for what is right … then I woke up and saw this instead —