Pork barrel thievery going unpunished as traditional Philippine activism fails

If the Philippines were a normal country, its government would be paralysed by now. We have a President who’s ability to govern fairly is complicated by his being part of a feudal clan that owns a vast northern Luzon plantation that is on the brink of insolvency and was found to have likely performed accounting “miracles” to scrape together millions of pesos in taxpayers’ funds to pay out “incentives” to legislators to do his bidding. As such, we have a legislature of Santa Claus wannabes largely discredited after they were found to have compromised their integrity and independence for a few barrels of pork.

What are Filipinos to do? Well, perhaps nothing. Isn’t this just another incarnation of national dysfunction in what has been a long series of political eras and ages where ordinary Filipinos have been stolen blind even as flowery promises and messages of “hope” coloured the surface of their society? In short, is there something that can be done differently to improve our chances of getting a different result this time?


Subscribe to our Substack community GRP Insider to receive by email our in-depth free weekly newsletter. Opt into a paid subscription and you'll get premium insider briefs and insights from us.
Subscribe to our Substack newsletter, GRP Insider!
Learn more

One thing that’s been consistent over the many years since Filipinos “won” their “freedom” in 1986 was the use of protest rallies to drive “change”, something one would consider hilarious because Filipinos wield more power via the vote than via protest rallies. Trouble is, one too many Edsa “revolutions” have likely made Filipinos think otherwise. The legit way is way too dull. In the Philippines, see, it always has to be a fiesta or a circus. Quite simply, Filipinos cannot take themselves seriously enough when it comes to even the most serious of matters.

My colleague Ben Kritz puts it quite well

The country needs a serious change to the way it does business; the people who are capable of articulating what they think that change should be owe it to the rest of the country to A) not try to stifle others who have different ideas, and B) not spend more time putting together a dog-and-pony show in a misguided effort to be “memorable” than on actually having a message worth remembering.

And add to that a rather dulled ability to focus on results and make that a primary point to whatever “actions” one needs to undertake towards rectifying whatever one is outraged about, and you get the expected outcome: no results, or, for that matter, no hope of any such over the foreseeable future…

“Letting the voice of the people be heard” is for wankers and idealistic stenotopes; grabbing the offender(s) by the scruff of the neck and letting them know they will not only hear the voice the of the people, but will do what it tells them to do or else the environment will become very unpleasant gets results.

We now know there are very few avenues to explore. It is difficult to envision one of those win-win outcomes drummed up by the idealist reconciliationista leaders of the Philippine “activist” scene when just about every one of what are supposed to be the three independent branches in the Philippine government are by all intents and purposes held by the nuts by Philippine President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III. Well, for that matter, even an outcome “unpleasant” for one or the other — either the removal of BS Aquino from office (the person ultimately accountable for the funds being stolen with impunity), or the conviction of any one of the offending “senators” is unlikely on account of that same situation.

Perhaps it is Filipinos’ willingness to explore what lies beyond the degree of “unpleasantness” they have come to be comfy with that has become the real question in these times.

[Photo courtesy Aljazeera.]

13 Replies to “Pork barrel thievery going unpunished as traditional Philippine activism fails”

  1. kung gusto nyo talaga may manyari, bitayin ang corrupt na mga officials, yun na lang ang sa tingin kong babago sa sistemang bulok, para magkaroon ng takot ang mga magnanakaw na yan.. Oh please lang sana may pumatay na lang sa kanila..! public execution kung kinakailangan!

    1. mapapalitan lamang sila kapag ganyan. ang dapat gawin, suportahan ang pangulo gaya ng sabi ni mae paner dahil seryoso siya sa pagsugpo ng corruption sa gobyerno.

      1. seryoso ba talaga? kasi kung seryoso iaabolish nya na talaga ang pdaf, tapos isulong nya ang pag amyenda ng constitution. pero alam mo kakasuka na paulit ulit na lang.. lalo pang magiging malala ang corruption, dahil hinahayaan lang natin sila na mapunta sa wheel chair, tapos ayon makakalimutan na lang ng taong bayan..kill the corrupt! ayun lang po ang aking mungkahi..

        1. ang pangulo ay para sa pagabolish ng pork. bakit pa aamyendahan ang konstitusyon kung ito ay makasaysayan at ang nagpalaya sa atin? dapat lang tanggalin at ikulong ang mga corrupt na naninira sa imahe nito.

          at hindi nakakalimut ang taumbayan, nakakulong na si corona at arroyo.

        2. (harold is a real-life cannibal who doesn’t even know what he is talking about.)

          (Arroyo was in house arrest but not behind bars. Corona was ousted as CJ because of SALN issues, but not because he’s corrupt. Now you’re making yourself stupid. :P)

        3. harold, solid aquino ka no? sana timbangin din, may pagkukulang talaga sya at walang ginagawa, nagbibingihan at bulagbulagan sa gusto ng mga tao. bakit hanggang ngayon wala parin nanyayari? kung gusto nya talagang maging transparent, abolish the pdaf, approve foi bill, o the best kung charter change..tanggalin lahat ng senado, mayor, etc, lahat wag ng presidential type..kasi ang corruption masyado ng malala.

        4. sadkjsak, kung tutoo ang daang matuwid ni Aquino, dapat mag-resign siya dahil siya ang pangunahing corrupt!

        5. @sadkjsak:

          (Just to tell you the truth: harold is one of the many paid Malacanang hacks lurking around. Their boss Ricky Carandang told them that they put aside their emotions, mindless typing these comments in order to get their paycheck.)

          (I know the style of TROLLS like him. :D)

      2. Harold, seryoso si Aquino sa pagsugpo ng corruption sa gobyerno? Kaya pala nilabag niya ang konstitusyon para makakuha ng pera na ipambabayad sa mga senador at house representative para i-convict si Corona. Mag-iingat sana tayo bago kumampi. Baka di natin alam demonyo na pala ang kinakampihan natin.

  2. This country is way too comfortable with the status quo. Pathetic peace and order situation, getting robbed blind by politicians, Filipinos bombing other Filipinos etc. One previously anonymous FB user of zero distinction “disrespects” their Ms. World winner and her kind then the Night of the Long Knives crowd comes out. We truly have our priorities in a row. Proud to be PINOY!

    1. What can you expect from Masochistic Pinoys? Remember that Spain held as for more than 300 years, they are very too comfortable with the status quo then..

  3. As for the EDSA”s: “Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again. Expecting different results.” Our President is taking medication, to prevent himself from getting insane. Our politicians, are mostly amoral, part insane…we are now partly insane, I think…

  4. Most Filipinos are an entirely different breed of arrogant, undisciplined wily people who could never take any kind of criticism but so SCARED to object to put a stop to their oppression from the few political families who robs them into dire poverty for over four decades.

    No lessons can be taught to these kind of people that would open their eyes toward true and decent change. They are people who love being slave to oppression and miserable poverty.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.