Executives execute, legislators legislate: Scrap the pork barrel


Again, following an eleventh-hour announcement from President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III that he is espousing abolition of the Congressional pork barrel, people continue to debate the wisdom of this move. The same lame arguments come up — “Who gets control of where the monies will be spent? How does this affect the various projects in districts that would help people directly?” some people ask as they scratch their pointed heads.

pork_barrel_philippinesAs is the usual case with misguided minds, a lot of wannabe “thought leaders” fail to step back far enough to regard the issue from a vantage point where they can see the complete picture. Those “monies spent” and “various projects” should not even exist to begin with under the management and funding of members of Congress. Districts and their people’s and local leaders’ aspirations to develop their communities should not have been relying on funds channeled through a legislative body of government to begin with. The points around which these hollow-headed pork barrel apologists have built their arguments are constructs premised on the very thing — the pork barrel — the existence of which is the crux of the whole debate itself.

The bigger argument, really, is not whether the pork barrel should be abolished, but should be about whether it, along with the projects it funded and the people who “benefited” form them, should have been allowed to come about to begin with. We are not looking for a divorce from the pork barrel here. What we should be calling for should be an annulment from it. The whole notion of the pork barrel and people’s pathetic dependency on its ill-conceived regime should be dissolved — rendered null and void. As such, arguments around the fate of the project are not even moot — they are, for all intents and purposes as well, null and void too.

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The principle at work here is simple:

The Executive branch executes. The Legislative branch legislates.

Why do legislators feel entitled to pocket money that allows them to play Santa Claus before the gawking star-struck eyes of their “constituents”? Perhaps they need their Santa Claus suit because legislative work is simply too abstract for an electorate too fixated on heroes, bread, and circuses to grasp. Without a chance to play administrative Santa Claus, legislators’ otherwise important role to play in modern democratic governance simply does not resonate with the Filipino voting public.

It’s a macro version analogous to the way some mayors feel the need to occasionally engage in the theatrics of personally directing rush hour traffic. They need to be seen to be doing work directly relevant to the day-to-day challenges faced by the ordinary Filipino schmoe. What people fail to appreciate is that we do not pay our mayors to direct rush hour traffic. We pay them to govern as executives in an air-conditioned office conducive to thinking. In the same way we do not pay legislators to play Santa Claus and build basketball courts and dredge esteros for us. We pay them to craft laws and refine our legal framework.

By all means, create a “new process” — as long as it is a process under the full jurisdiction of the Executive branch, where it belongs.

There really is no simpler way to put it — certainly not an explanation that requires social media epalics involving infographics and kilometric blog posts. Execute operations under the management of executives — NOT legislators.

That any president including the current President would fail to appreciate this simple concept and continue to use it may be laughable to some of us. Unfortunately for us, the idea is lost in the majority whose idea of doing good is to be like some kind of Robin Hood. There are reasons not to abolish Pork. But those reasons serve politics — not modern democratic governance.

President BS Aquino did not “change the game”. All he did was add more gold to the pot at stake.

It’s simple, really — perhaps not for the small-minded.

39 Replies to “Executives execute, legislators legislate: Scrap the pork barrel”

  1. Pls. enlighten me. The legislators also have the power to appropriate, power to taxation including budgetary power,otherwise,we might just as well revise the constitution or abolish the congress altogether. Just my two cents of worth.
    from one of the common
    people with pointed heads

      1. “True democracy comes when we know its limits.” -Mahathir

        You don’t really know what DEMOCRACY means since the people turned into a spectator sport. If this will continue, the Philippines will remain a basket case.

        You want that? Your answer will be ‘YES’ because you’re a pitiful, mindless zombie. 😀

      2. What democracy are you talking about? It’s their democracy, the politician’s democracy. Democracy to corrupt other people. to buy their votes, to fool the people. Has there been any meaningful legislation or law that they have passed. None and they won’t. They want us to be poor and uneducated so they can corrupt us. What they are thinking is the money they could get on whoever is in power. They won’t even think of laws to be proposed, or proposed laws to be opposed.

  2. These points, to an educated person, are self-evident. The fact that a large portion of the electorate is not educated is the problem.BUT not the only one…
    An up-hill battle lies ahead. Not only to stop the thieving, but to prevent it from being hidden behind another veil. Wresting control of the funds from those who have controlled it for decades is not going to be easy and could prove the to be the death of more than a few.
    Be that as it may there is also one or two other things that lie just beyond the re-arranging of the money train pecking order. Namely the International community that has none of the ‘greater good’ of the Filipino people at heart. As bad as that sounds there are those that are carving up the pie that is the South China/West Philippine Sea. Been going on for months.Then there’s all the ‘under-cover’ Gold being shipped out of the country. As well as the timber from the rain-forests on Mindanao, NONE of which are benefitting the Filipino people. MUCH like the PIGS that are drooling over the ‘pork barrel’ funds that they now are in danger(not really but it sounds EVIl) of losing out on, the fact is the ‘pork-barrel’ is just the tip of the ice-berg. The Filippine economy is stated to be missing just about half of its GDP due to theft of one kind or another. Due to lack of auditing the GOCC’s are another point of gross mis-appropriations of funds over-paid ‘phantom’ employees and yet when the thought of an audit is mentioned it is quickly rebuffed as ‘un-necessary’, and that rebuff is by the very same people that control the GOCC’s.
    A swift accounting must be undertaken for if TIME is granted to the thieves well….do I need to spell it out. Someone is needed to step up and commence a full audit of expenditures by all who have access to treasury/GOCC even Lottery funds, NOW!or it will be more of the same for decades to come.Its time to step on the gas rather than sit and wait as one guy has already suggested.
    Then there will be the other accounting that MUST be accounted for: EXACTLY who will it be that carves up the pie that lies beneath the ocean floor/the mines and forrests in Mindanao? I suggest that those plans have long been laid down. Question is are the Filipino people going to stand there and let the thieves that are raping and stealing EVERYTHING that is not nailed down…of the hook? To just keep going as if the current scandal is just the end to the problem when it is really just the beginning?
    More complete mis-information and bull-shit lies are sure to follow. It is best to strangle the cat that is in the process of swallowing the bird on its way down the cats throat so as to make sure it is the last bird the dam cat ever eats.

    1. Your sources are suspicious. I notice (for so many times) that they do diversionary issues to hide the sunken part of the iceberg.

      I am skeptic on this.


  3. Everyone knows that it is the previous administration’s fault. Let me quote His Excellency,

    “We have to remind the
    public that all these
    happened during the past
    administration that had
    different policies from us.”

    1. Everyone knows you and His Hypocricy pnoy are idiots
      Try reading the news


        1. Moron.
          It is happening now.
          And it was happening when pnoy was a senator
          Was he too weak to say anything.
          Silence is just as bad and a crime of omission.
          A coward on heroes day
          And yes pnoy aquino is corrupt.
          A trapo who is a traitor
          Everyone knows that

        2. Everyone paid attention at former president GMA taking the people’s money (when its the government’s money to begin with) yet nobody was shocked and awe that PNOY took over 60 million pesos in pork barrel money? Oh but of course not since the incompetent individual has not done anything bad and is compensating himself as a proud member of the Aquino family and taking his rightful place in the government.

          He’s also corrupt because corruption, in a sense, is more than stealing money. And you never want to talk about Hacienda Luisita and the current scam where he is a part of.

          HYPOCRITE. 😀

    2. It does not matter if it started fromt the previous administration. The moment the Pnoy stepped in, he should have checked it out especially since he is very “determined” to put his predecessor in jail. The fact that the issue came out just now shows he was taking his chances.

        1. Unless your DOJ decides to mysteriously kill them, there will be something to be afraid of.

          I’d be afraid if I were you since your president’s days are numbered.

        1. What person with a brain would want to take that job. Help Wanted: person good with social networks willing to go into blogsites and FB pages and dumb down the proceedings. We provide script. We have your Macbook waiting. Ask for Ricky.

    3. 3 years and your president hasn’t done anything to lessen corruption. What he only did was go after his political enemies while protecting his KKK.

      You know, if your president was really doing a good job, he wouldn’t need an idiot like you to spread his propaganda.

      Is that really all you can post here?

  4. I think we need in place of PDAF is a system where WE, the taxpayer have a say on how funds are used, so as to not be abused. Perhaps a system which involves the Private Sector at an Auxiliary implementing agency/group which will actually check for projects then process paper work and finally disburse funds on projects WE, the taxpayers, proposed. It can be modeled like crowd sourcing and so we have the maximum say. Maybe, we can say where any amount of our taxes go, like for 3000 pesos monthly tax, 40% goes to education, 30% goes to infrastucture, 20% goes to this, 10% goes to that.
    At the same time, this auxiliary implementing agency/group can also verify and certify the existence and ability of those contractors/bidders who wants to do governments’ work.

    I think this is a viable alternative to the PDAF/CDF/PORK BARREL system we use. We must apply the Odysseus solution of stopping temptation for these politicians! I say suffocate these politicians financially by cutting off their supply of free money.

    1. Si PNoy na lang. Pagbobotohan pa bago maaprubahan ang budget? Come on! Kayo nga ayaw maniwala na walang dayaan last election eh.

      1. 60-30-10. That is evidence enough that there was cheating in the last election.

        Your propaganda is weak.

        DEAL WITH IT.

      2. It’s all pure propaganda.

        Of course you won’t reply since you’re a heartless soul who deletes his own Facebook account. A real-life fraud. 😀

  5. OK, seeing the flood of public outrage coming, the ‘CHARADE’ is well underway. WHAT CAN THE PEOPLE EXPECT NEXT?

    Anticipate the following:

    The familiar plan is well underway, phase 1 has already been un-veiled: Stall for time, symapathise with the affronted.Meanwhile, cover/tie-up all loose-ends(which could lead to lots of people disappearing/dying inexplicably). Study the enemy(the people) and see who their leaders are and what they think and what they are planning to do(this involves but is not limited to ‘agent provocatuers”spies”planted lies’appearing real etc, etc,etc). This also involves covert acts as well as ‘planting’ of people who appear to ‘want to help’ amongst the leaders of the opposition(the people).

    Next up, shortly after phase 1 is started some sort of feeble attempt at mitigation of the brewing anger will be made. In other words a ‘BONE’ will be thrown to largest of the dogs and his group, a step back will be taken to see how that ‘BONE’ is digested and the success to which it placates the big dog and co. will be ascertained before any more ‘FREEBIES’ are handed out(remember these people do not like competition/intruders/interlopers). All the while stalling for time to cook the books and tying up those irritating loose ends. While also engaging in a media campaign to ‘promise’ to ‘root out all those responsible(LOL!)’ and ‘bring them to justice'(where have you heard this b4?). Certain long standing ‘respected'(HA!) individuals will be ‘presented’ to ‘spear-head’ another ridiculous ‘blue-ribbon’ panel(which will only be thieves investigating thieves). Phase 3 will begin with the ‘smoking gun’, that no doubt will be planted. The scheme will be well thought out with each step carefully planned/timed/executed, a sacrificial lamb will be chosen and presented.(Corona is un-available as he was the last one)This lamb will be promised no jail time, the keeping of his/her assets BUT will have to endure a public shaming that will last as long as is necessary for the people to lose interest. This long used sequence of events is usually enough to keep the populace subdued. The biggest key to its success is the issuing of TIME to the thieves as Filipino’s are fond of immediate gratification and long term endurence is not their collective Forte. Should the above not be enough to muck up the people’s strategies(if they have any) well then the scoundrels/tyrrants will then have to get nasty and call out the big guns.

    It is easy enough to know what that will entail.
    Pointing all of this out should not necessary but is done just in case it is not already GLARINGLY obvious to even the dullest of intellects.

  6. Ah Yes, just like the alcoholic who says he can stop drinking and for six months does so and then pats himself on the back and goes binging again. Really think any of these guys will stand by any pledge not to write themselves juicy bills to fill their cronies pockets. They will abstain and pats themselves on the back and then go back into it in a more devious way while proclaiming they are pork free.

  7. Good one, benign0.

    The solution in terms of principle is as you have laid it out.

    At the level of practical politics, the President has to get there without losing control of the machinery of government and indeed without other troubles, possibly including assassination attempts and so on. We’ve already heard of “contracts” being placed on the lives of some officials.

    I doubt if the Executive would face a military coup, because they have been starting to supply the PAF with decent equipment, but there are powerful people who have, or who are associated with, paramilitaries and private armies and who will be very, very inconvenienced by the abolition of the pork barrel,

    To put it bluntly, it costs around 200 million to get elected to the House (the Senate, with its nation wide franchise, is much more expensive) and the salary of a Congresscritter is only 2 million per year. Some people are going to have to be paid, somehow… or they will lose all interest in keeping the Government running…

  8. The Pork Barrel is used as a “carrot stick” by any of those in power, to make the politicians support them. It is the source of large scale corruption. Most of the funds go into their pockets.
    Aquino abolishes Pork Barrel, because the fund is now empty. Nanakaw na….lahat..Aquino must abolish his own Pork Barrel, also…

  9. I agree partly with you.The current president should re-think his position because the next president/s will most likely be corrupt, the likes of Binay and Marcos, who are so ATAT (obsessed) to become president, especially the 1st.

    I’m totally convinced that there’s a dearth of good people in the Philippines, much more , leaders as result of Marcos’ successful instituionalization of corruption in all levels of Philippine society.And this culture of corruption, almost impossible or impossible depending, has been successfully sustained too by Estrada and Arroyo.

  10. All comments on this column are really bounded with truth and coming from a very bright mind, I hope and pray that one of you will run and win to become a President of the Republic of the Philippines. One question I would like to ask to all of you… Have you paid honestly your taxes? Are you using a license software in your computer/ gadgets specially used in posting your comments? If not, you are CORRUPT too…………

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