With both the government and non-government organizations (NGOs) involved in the so-called pork barrel fund anomaly, who else can you trust in this country?
Imagine billions of pesos in taxpayers money disappearing in the hands of bogus NGOs and reemerging in the forms of luxury houses and condominiums owned by some politicians or the NGO founders.
The scam is appalling and so is the shameless act of these politicians and money makers, who steal not only the money of the government but also the future of the Filipino people.
The extent of corruption involving the use of the so-called Priority Development Assistance Funds or termed in the Philippines as pork barrel used by senators and congressmen has shocked the nation.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle was reportedly moved to tears by the PhP10-billion pork scam allegedly masterminded by Ms. Napoles and her cohorts.
Ms. Napoles owns 28 houses in the Philippines, luxury cars and multi-million-dollar homes in the US, where her children lived in lavish lifestyles. She is also known for throwing extravagant parties for politicians, quoting her former employees and whistle-blowers Benhur Luy and Merlina P. Suñas.
Mr. Luy accused Ms. Napoles of ordering his abduction in December last year, forcing the Department of Justice to issue a warrant of arrest against her. She is now hiding from the law.
Ms. Napoles set up 20 NGOs based on the affidavits of six whistle-blowers who were her former employees. Reports said the legislators denied their participation or making those signatures in the projects that were supposed to have been implemented by Ms. Napoles.
Commission on Audit (COA) Chairman Grace Pulido Tan confirmed that the PhP113.6-billion infrastructure and PDAF spent by government in pork barrel from 2007 to 2009 had traces of misuse and irregularities.
She said the magnitude of fund anomalies has shown that the PDAF system has bred a “culture of impunity.” Many of those involved thought that they could get away with it.
One legislator was reportedly given PhP3.114 billion in pork barrel allocations between 2007 and 2009. Another PhP20 billion went to a supposed Metro Manila representative who was not even listed as a member of either the 13th or 14th Congress.
A special audit of the Commission on Audit (COA) also revealed that at least 74 legislators exceeded their annual allocations of PhP70 million for representatives and PhP200 million for senators and showed a glaring failure to protect the people’s money as legislators wantonly allocated funds to dubious NGOs implementing ghost livelihood projects under the watch of agencies ill-equipped to monitor them.
The COA said of the PhP12.018 billion in taxpayers’ money allocated to the pork barrel of some legislators, only about 10 percent to 20 percent were spent on the actual projects. Most of the NGOs that got the funds were of “dubious existence”.
The names of some beneficiaries of the pork funds were taken from the list of passers of bar or board exams.
The COA should be recognized for disclosing its report, but it should also have done something to prevent this culture of corruption that has so frustrated so many Filipinos they decided to work and live in other countries, away from these greedy individuals.
Let us restore good governance in our country.