By Jude Josue Sabio
IT is a political imperative that the pork barrel must be abolished completely, and never allowed to resurrect in any ingenious form at any given time. The absolute necessity of its extinction proceeds from the political necessity of exterminating the oligarchy that has been maintaining its stranglehold on our political culture.
In the famous words of Abraham Lincoln, democracy is supposed to be the government “of the people, by the people and for the people.” By its etymological roots, democracy means people’s rule. On that basis, democracy is incompatible and cannot co-exist with oligarchy which is a government ruled by a few people called oligarchs.
In our political system, elections are just the farcical mechanisms for legitimizing dynastic consolidation or dynastic struggles. One does not have to look far and wide but just has to look at his locality to understand what I precisely mean. These local political dynasties send their dynastic representatives to Congress which, in turn, is inhabited and dominated by an oligarchy through the political dynasties.
This oligarchy refuses to abolish its political dynasties through the law, even if it has been mandated by our Constitution for more than 30 years. It becomes clear that this oligarchy will not ever commit a “harakiri” or political suicide by abolishing itself through the passage of a law. Instead, this oligarchy has been exerting efforts to even more consolidate and entrench itself in power.
This oligarchy has been continuously exploiting its power of the purse through its dynastic representatives in Congress. Scandalously, we have seen this in the pork barrel that was voided by the Supreme Court in November 2014. It was an insidious tool chiseled by the dynastic oligarchy in Congress to make a scheme or transaction by law out of which they could make a lot of money.
That these oligarchic dynasties only intend to make money out of the pork barrel as a transaction is proven by the fact that almost all of them participated in the creation of a shadow office for said purpose. They were able to make money out of the pork barrel through their active support and collaboration with Janet Napoles who actively ran the modus operandi. Napoles acted like the fund manager operating in an office for these oligarchic dynasties in distributing to them their kickbacks and bribes.
While the Supreme Court voided the pork barrel in November 2014, the Sandiganbayan acquitted Bong Revilla on tenuous grounds, but his chief-of-staff, Atty. Richard Cambe, was convicted. This dual result is anomalous because only a senator or a congressman has the absolute power to set into motion the implementation of a project under the pork barrel; in other words, Atty. Cambe could not have caused the implementation of the project and release of funds without the indispensable exercise of power by the senator who naturally would not have allowed Atty. Cambe to pocket the kickbacks all by himself.
The abolition of the pork barrel by law is impossible in the same way that the extermination of this oligarchy by law is also impossible. This dynastic oligarchy refuses and will continue to refuse to abolish itself by law. To maintain itself, it will not also abolish, but would rather keep and maintain the pork barrel by any ingenious ploy it can devise.
As proof of this subterfuge, it is shown that this oligarchic dynasty has been continuing its practice of inserting the pork barrel in one form or another in the budget year in and year out.
Only the valiant effort of Sen. Panfilo Lacson has caused this shenanigan to be continually exposed in public. Recently, a public rift has even scandalously exposed the shameful episode of the oligarchy fighting for their pork barrel that resulted in the temporary absence of a budget for our national government. There is no end in sight for this perennial oligarchic pork barrel.
Given that this oligarchy will not self-destruct, there must be some other means to do it including a resort to a sovereign act of overhauling the political system. If we still feel hopeful of having a true and meaningful democracy, then at the very least this oligarchy must be extirpated from the face of the earth.
To abolish these oligarchic dynasties, at least the pork barrel that feeds them should be abolished altogether. Otherwise, this pork barrel will continue to bleed this country of much-needed funds for national development resulting primarily in the aggravation of poverty, considering that about more than 20 percent of these funds go into the pockets of this dynastic oligarchy, a phenomenon that we have readily seen in the Napoles scandal.
Owing to the perennial impunity under which this dynastic oligarchy is keeping the pork barrel, the National Appropriations Act is nothing but a national outlaw and should be treated as such. Since an outlaw in olden times is to be slain on sight, this thick law should be set afire and burned in or near the halls of Congress and/or before the Rizal monument as a national popular denunciation of its being an insidious tool of oligarchy. In the name of democracy, this dynastic oligarchy must be shamed, dishonored and condemned as a prelude to its eventual extinction by a sovereign people.