The Pork Barrel, Janet and Noynoy
Cooking up a storm (First of 3 parts)
I could have written this on the day of the rally and cracked a comment on the million man march, either bemoaning its failure or exalting its success; but I wrote this the day before because I chose to believe that whatever the numbers at the rally, that this rally already succeeded way before the day it was staged when social media detonated over the issue and the nation vomited over the abuses of the pork barrel in this and the previous administration which have never been a secret at all.
In succeeding days, the unexpected happened: the public realized that the outrageous was not the abuse but the practice itself. A practice without basis in law and divorced from the function of lawmaking; and used from start to finish to cross the boundary between the executive and legislative branches of government making the executive also the maker of the laws behind the screen of the money it lavished on the latter.
In the event the march was a vast success. When the media announced that 36,000 had arrived, I tweeted, No, liars, I see 300,000; later in the day, media conceded the crowd had reached 300,000 at its peak; leading me to declare it had reached 600,000 though the police insisted it was closer to 60,000 and they have no reason to lie: they couldn’t care less either way.
But its success notwithstanding, there is one aspect in which this rally was deficient, whether it turned out big or small; it was premature because no rally is a really a rally unless it contains the potential to turn into a lynch mob.
But that potential exists only with the availability for hanging, not just of Janet Napoles, but indispensably of all the Budget secretaries past and present without whose say-so nothing will be paid out and nothing can be stolen.
Janet was working well into the second half of this Aquino administration and, really, she is not a public official, let alone the one in charge of congressional funds; only one official has control of that and that is the Budget secretary and he acts on his own behalf and on behalf his former chums’ in Congress and the President himself. Administration after administration, it is always the same faces running the budget and the House of Representatives, one time pro- another time anti-administration. It is always the same gang.
Along with the DBM secretaries must be all the senators though not that many congressmen it appears, tough luck for them. In the House, most get the basic pork, P35 million though on paper it is P70 million; the rest is pocketed. In addition there are committee chairmanships with the privilege to appoint staff but that privilege is taken by the aforementioned gang and distributed among them. You are just lucky to get the allowance, one staff and the honor of doing all the work of the committee with the in-house staff of the House.
Speaking of insatiable hogs, one must not forget the majority and minority floor leaders, interchangeably the same people across administrations as we noted. For good measure, throw in the deputy speakers, including for Central Luzon, a region that never appeared on any map, not to mention the speakers of the House and the presidents of the Senate, all of whom always got the first and surely the fattest slices of the porky pie.
While the government said it is helpless to produce Janet, it knows the addresses of Senate and House; simultaneously timed NBI raids should sweep up all the aforementioned parties, possibly Napoles too who is nowhere safer than among her confederates; and whose most important address is not any of the 26 houses not listed in her name but the two Houses of Congress where she kept house, cooking up quite a storm for the masters and mistresses of both houses. Who of course ate most of the banquet; she only got a commission.
The Palace remained helpless finding Janet’s whereabouts until she intruded in Teddy Locsin’s timeline on Twitter, said something pleasant, to which he replied that if she would tweet him her address, he would send her the best ensaymada in the country. Two hours later, she popped up at the Palace. She seemed to know her way there and inside and was welcomed by the President who escorted her, with many asseverations of concern over her health—it is her face that has a problem—to Mar Roxas at the DILG for debriefing about how no Liberal Party member was implicated in any pork scam.Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.