The thing with Senate “probes” is they really don’t amount to much beyond serving as a sideshow to a Filipino public hungry for tele-intriga. Presumably, a legislative body getting involved in a criminal investigation is investing that time in the aid of legislation. What kind of legislation will be an outcome of this latest Senate inquiry into whistleblower Ruby Tuason’s involvement in the pork barrel scam? The answer to that question, in principle, is a no-brainer. The continued handing out of pork by Malacanang (under whatever disguise this is done using whatever terminology in aid of said disguise) has clear legislative solutions. Suffice to say, however, expecting the on-going Senate “probe” to result in the implementation of laws to eliminate the banal thievery surrounding these taxpayer-funded slush funds is only setting one’s self up for disappointment.No. This Senate “probe” is all but a stage for Philippine senators to do what they are really only good at (besides skimming off “commissions” from their pork allocations) — grandstanding and covering their asses.
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Step back first and consider the core truth about the Senate. The Philippine Senate is really all about pork. The Upper House has always struggled to justify its existence. Its relevance has long been the subject of debate. Indeed, no less than current Senate President Franklin Drilon once proposed that the Senate be abolished if Philippine Senators are deprived of their pork. “Let’s just abolish Congress then,” he even said.
There you go. According to Drilon, there really is no point in being a Senator without pork. To allow a body whose whole existence is all about pork to investigate a pork scam is ridiculous to say the least.
But just the same, it’s all happening. That’s the Philippines for you.
So going back to this whole Ruby Tuason circus, yesterday’s (13th Feb 2014) “hearing” and the overall inquiry on pork thievery is irrelevant to the government function of legislation. The centrepiece of that session was a pitting of Senator Jinggoy Estrada’s assertion that Tuason merely brought him sandwiches versus Tuason’s claim that she was, as a matter of fact, bringing him wads of cash.
Which of the two accounts represents the truth?
Dude, that is not even asking the right question. The intelligent question to ask here is this:
Why are we even wasting time on this farce?
To be fair, it is because there really is no intelligent debate in the Philippines that this simple question never came up. The truth will not come out in these Senate “probes”. It never did and it never will. It does not come out when Senators are investigating cases that do not involve their own, and it sure as hell will not come out when they investigate a case in which the accused is among their ranks.
The Senate “pork probe” is no more than an astoundingly expensive and unnecessary step that slows Tuason’s on-going journey from the airport to the witness stand in a real court of law. It does not take a rocket scientist to come up with the legislative agenda needed to rid the country of pork thievery forever. Pork thievery involves Senators in a profound way, which means that between themselves these Senators already possess enough collective expertise on pork thievery to craft the necessary laws to end it.
Best thing to do is to stop this “Blue Ribbon” nonsense and put Tuason and all the other persons-of-interest in this scam on the fast lane to a proper Philippine court. That is, of course, if we are all serious about solving Pinoy-style pork barrel thievery.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.