For me, the issue is not the pork barrel. In earlier posts here, I mentioned that one’s decision whether or not to dip one’s hand into the barrel and use the money for personal gain rests on one’s values and views of the PDAF. Pork or no pork, liars, cheaters, and thieves will find ways and means to lie, cheat, and steal. This is what distinguishes these folks from people who do not go by those values.
Money per se is not the root of all evil. What renders a thing that is otherwise neutral (money) as evil is status or covetousness and greed or the inability to be content even when one has already a billion dollars and possesses all worldly goods. If greed has a face it would be the mad Gollum (of the Lord of The Rings fame)
The pork barrel would be The Ring. And the virtuous legislator, politician, and public official would be Frodo
Frodo’s journey is fraught with forces who want to harm him and his companions, coveting The Ring for themselves. Such is the power of The Ring that even Frodo isn’t spared the temptation although in the end the good in him wins (with some help–though not in a good way–from Gollum). Gollum and The Ring fall into the fire, forever destroyed.
The point of the analogy is that we can’t take out one (The Ring) and retain the other (Gollum).
For me, the issue is that these elected officials, even after having been implicated in blatant corruption, are still in there. Why are they not suspended pending investigation of their alleged involvement in so horrendous a crime? The litigation by the Senate of former SC Justice Corona is now the model for speedy justice where government officials are involved, but why is the process not set up yet?
Same with the unearthed corruption at the Bureau of Customs. All the public’s getting are debates and irrelevant reports (e.g. Napoles’ family is of ‘old landed rich’ – who cares if they are? will the info help solve the corruption problem? and there we go again at our collective worship of the Senora and Senorita and the Don and Dona among us – just look at the plot and place of local telenovelas, it’s always the gentry versus the abject with the latter being won over by the former, a modern rehash of the very hated Spanish rule in Rizal’s time. I believe we’re stuck in that period, psychologically.). Start the litigation process already!
Upholding the rule of law is what this country lacks. Many in the country, especially its leaders, go livid when former President Marcos is cast in a kinder light; yet they don’t realize that they themselves are committing the same atrocities they condemn Marcos for. When everyone feels that he or she is above the law and there are people who allow that to happen, we are in for chaos which we are experiencing for some time now. The culture of corruption thrives in a permissive environment, and the environment we have right now is the right one to cultivate it.
Some months ago, Kris Aquino made it to the headlines as the country’s highest paying taxpayer. To what purpose this serves the public I don’t know but for me it means that Ms. Aquino has gained for herself the privilege (on top of her right) over the rest of the citizens to go bat-shit on elected officials who stole tax money without remorse. But we don’t hear her. Nor the corporations who are easily among the top taxpayers.
We have not convicted public officials implicated in corruption (Does the former President now Manila Mayor, Mr. Erap count?). In the US, the City of Chicago is reported as the most corrupt but its Court sent the former Governor, Rod Blagojevich, to 14 years in prison, on corruption charges. He has been disqualified from holding office in the state.
Are we going to look away again? Because no amount of speak-your-native-tongue-because-it’s-Linggo ng Wika crap will help. (We don’t speak our native tongue (or adhere to good Filipino values) just because it’s Linggo ng Wika; we speak it all the time because this is part of who we are and are proud of it.)