MY POSITION ON PORK BARREL
QUESTION: Sir John, you are supporting Pork Barrel. Why?
ANSWER: I am supporting pork barrel because it is one way a national legislator (Congressman and Senator) can directly dictate the executive branch to fund projects that are urgently needed by their constituents. Pork barrel is a VERY SMALL fraction of the overall government budget. If you remove the pork barrel, the executive branch will have a monopoly over the funds.
Whether the expense item is a pork barrel or not, it passes through the Department of Budget Management (DBM), the Procurement, Bids, and Awards Committee (PBAC) of the Department, and Commission on Audit (COA) of the executive branch. The Congressman and Senator are only endorsers of the projects. It is still the executive branch who approves and implements the projects. So if there is an anomaly, such as issuance of government checks to ghost NGOs, it is the functional lapse and corruption in the Executive Branch, and you must nail down the in-house COA of the Department.
What I want is to restrict the Pork Barrel. It should only be spent on Concrete Infrastructure such as classrooms, roads, bridges, and sidewalks because these projects can be evaluated at post-implementation stage. Pork barrel should not be allocated for Consumables because consumables cannot be evaluated at post-implementation, meaning, these consumables disappear after it is given to the recipients. Consumables include relief foods, medicines and clothing during calamities, dole-out cash and goods to the poor, condoms as pushed by RH Bill proponents, and livelihood capital.
So if you see an NGO office disappears after it is used as distributor of a Pork Barrel relief goods or livelihood funds, it is just NORMAL. Why would it continue to maintain the NGO office if it's function to distribute relief goods is over?
I have worked for a Senator and a Congressman in the past. I have worked in NEDA and have completed all academic subjects in Masters of Public Management. I know how pork barrel works. I know where the corruptions point is and I will tell you now.
Example, extremely impoverished constituents (200 families) approach their Congressman to request for water flexible hose from the main reservoir to their isolated community so they can taste potable water. The Congressman writes a letter to the Local Water Utilities Administration (LUWA under the Executive Branch) and requests that P10 million worth of hose be allocated to this particular constituents, with special note that the P10M be charged to the PDAF (Pork Barrel) of the endorsing Congressman. LUWA then sends a letter to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to make funds available for the project. It takes FOREVER for DBM to issue certificate of availability of funds so you have to follow it up very often. DBM's usual excuse is they are already overwhelmed with workload and they get away with it everytime. DBM is the choke point (our DBM now is Butch Abad).
There are persons who are PROFESSIONALS in making follow up in DBM and one of them is NAPOLES. People like NAPOLES make a living in making follow-up in DBM, in completing the required documents of the project, and they earn percentage commission. They collect their commission from the service provider or project undertaker such as the engineering firm who won the bid to install the water pipes. The commission is big, to a tune of 40% because NAPOLES has to pay grease money to DBM and of course pay gratuity pay under the table to the Congressman, to the LUWA Administrator, and of course to Commission of Audit (COA). Not all Congressmen receives gratuity gifts, only the ones who believe that there is nothing wrong in receiving gratuity gifts. So, only 60% of the money is actually spent on the project, the 40% gets divided between the professional fixer (like Napoles), the DBM, the LUWA, the COA, and the Congressman. The administrators of DBM and LUWA are appointed by the President -- it is their secret duty to share heir loot to the President or else they will be replaced by the Presidential Management Staff (PMS). When PNoy administrator started, Butch Abad is chief of DBM and his daughter Julia is chief of PMS -- now you see the connection. If you work as security guard on the entrance door of DBM, you will personally know all professional fixers, and Napoles is just one of the many. If you do the work of Napoles, you must have good PR (pang regalo). Napoles' work is called a BROKER, it is LEGAL, it is a career, it is part of the entire system, it is risky especially when there is change of administration because new administrators would always want their own relatives and friends to be the fixers in their offices. I don't know why Napoles becomes the center of public fury in this Pork Barrel issue.
In any government business process, if it is slow, professional fixers would always come in. Most of these fixers are fronts of the government officials who are slow in rendering the service.
There is a doctrine in wealth investment management that you should never put your money in one basket in order to reduce the risk. Legislative Pork Barrel is a very small fraction of the entire government fund and its discretion on project identification is allocated to 250 legislators (Senators and Congressman). So if you have 50 corrupt legislator who receives gratuity gifts (commission or kick back) for the projects they endorsed for funding, you only have 20% corruption rate. If you remove the Legislative Pork Barrel and put your money entirely in the discretionary fund of the President, you are risking 100% of your fund if the President is corrupt.
Pork barrel is also a good equalizer. It is a mechanism wherein people can avail of funds for their projects through their district representatives.
PLUG: The Philippine National Government would always make the size of the entire government and the size of population as an excuse of their inefficiency and futility. That's why we, MNLF, are here, and we want to separate from Philippines and establish Bnagsamoro Land (Mindanao, Sulu, Palawan, Sabah) and a separate nation. I believe that a Bangsamoro Nation with 25 million population can serve its citizens more effectively compared to the Philippine Government that is already overwhelmed with 100 million citizens.
PORK BARREL is not good as it is now because it is just being used as the President's "treat" (cash, cars, and even sex) for the DBM and legislators who support his agenda. It is also unfair to concentrate the finger pointing to a small-time DBM fixer (like Napoles) because the people who really get the big shares of the kickback are those in DBM, the Departments who administer the bidding, resident COA staff in the Department, and the Legislator who endorses the project. Napoles is just a bagman, kickback negotiator, secret keeper, pimp, keeper of ill-gotten asset, and thereby front of the real crocodiles.
You might wonder why Napoles has so many luxurious cars and houses all over the world -- it is because she keeps these for the personal and confidential use of corrupt people in government whom she works for. Try checking the owner of the mansions, party house, private planes, helicopters, luxury cars, fueling stations, and even prostitution clubs that is being used by the politician -- they are all well hidden under the name of some corporations (like the corporation owned by Napoles) to avoid getting caught by lifestyle investigators. You can dig into it, but when you get to the point of knowing the broker of the real estate acquisition, STOP, because you will be facing an unsolvable mystery.
PORK BARREL is good in principle because it is an effective equalizer, provided it is regulated by a legislation that is guided by the principles of fairness, equality, and accountability; and its should be made mandatory for legislators to entertain and endorse worthwhile projects initiated by their constituents.
By the way, have you read the standard PDAF endorsement letter of a Senator or Congressman? It always says, "I am pleased to endorse Project X for funding under PDAF, subject to availability of funds and usual accounting and auditing rules and regulations".
QUESTION: Sir John, why is Sen Ping Lacson chosen as lead investigator for PDAF?
ANSWER: By professional background, he was a police investigator. He has no conflict of interest because he never used his PDAF when he was Senator. Most of all, he understands how it is like to be a fugitive of the law.
LOOKING BACK AT THE PAST PRESIDENTS
Si Fidel Ramos ang pinaka-unang nagpa-uso ng Pork Barrel. Ginamit niya etong pang incentive sa mga Legislators na susuporta sa mga Legislative Bills na pinu-push niya via Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC).
SA PANAHON NI ERAP merong Pork Barrel, pero restricted, ang pwede lang ay concrete infrastructure project sa rural areas where most of the poor lives. Mahigpit si DBM chief Benjamin Diokno at NEDA chief Philip Medalla noon, hindi pwede yang mga projects na waiting shed, maraming galit na corrupt na politicians. Kaya ayan, tingnan mo, pinagka-isahan nila si Erap, tanggal in 18 months. Diba kasama kayo sa pagpapa-alis kay Erap?
Simula kay Gloria hanggang ngayon kay PNoy, ang Pork ay ginagastos sa consumables, halos lahat post calamity dole outs (at malapit na eto gagastusin pang-bili ng condoms via RH Bill), walang trace kung papano ginamit, walang concrete na infra kang makikita. Binoto nyo si Gloria at si PNoy diba?