Further proof that Filipinos have a very flat learning curve. Congressional pork barrel thievery is nothing new. It’s been going on since its re-introduction into Philippine governance back in the late 1980s by former President Corazon Aquino, mother of current President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III.
Even back in 1996, the Inquirer had already published an “award-winning exposé” on pork barrel thievery. Interestingly, the secondary top-panel headline on the 13th August 1996 issue opened a report on violence in Zamboanga perpetrated by the Moro National Liberation Front. This was highlighted by Inquirer publisher Raul Pangalananan in a recent speech…
[...] Pangalangan, in his introductory speech, showed an old issue of the newspaper with the headlines “Congress kickbacks how much for whom?” and “MNLF occupies four more towns in Zamboanga.” An infographic of a roast pig also showed the parts of the pork barrel or the PDAF supposedly reserved for kickbacks for politicians, contractors and other involved groups.“The date is August 13, 1996. You would think these were the headlines for today,” he said.
An image of that Inquirer issue has been making the rounds in social media recently…
The beginning excerpt from the report authored by Carlito Pa[b]lo under the headline “Congress kickbacks: how much for whom” may as well describe the questions everybody is asking today:
How much kickback do members of Congress, local government officials, and executive and audit officials get from projects funded with the pork barrel?And how much of the taxpayer’s money actually goes into the projects assuming they get implemented at all?A [congressman] yesterday detailed what [what is] called SOP, for standard operating procedure, but actually referring to [illegible text] that go to legislators and other officials in the disbursement of the Countrywide Development Fund and the Congressional Initiatives Allocation.
Seventeen years separate today and 1996. You’d think something will have been done about that in-your-face stealing by Filipinos’ “honourable” representatives within that long period and the banditry perpetrated by armed terrorists roaming Mindanao with impunity. That puts a bit of perspective around any “hope” being drummed up by Malacañang and the President’s henchmen in the Department of Justice and the Ombudsman that actual accountable people will end up behind bars anytime soon or that “peace” will be seen in Mindanao in the next several years. Certainly expecting results by the time BS Aquino steps down from the presidency in 2016, the 20th anniversary of that original Inquirer exposé may be a bit too much to ask.