Pork Barrel has evolved from PDAF and DAP into something that is yet-to-be-named

Pork Barrel, the primary feature and, to many Filipino politicians, the whole point of Philippine politics is not dead yet. It remains alive, despite the crushing of its two biggest motherlodes, the so-called Prioritiy Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). The embryo for the new pork is already baked into the new 2015 national budget submitted by Malacanang to Congress for approval. And at 500 billion pesos it is bigger and meaner.

It will not go away, perhaps because prior rulings made by the Philippine Supreme Court (SC) on the matter were after-the-fact and on specific incarnations of pork — the “PDAF” and the “DAP”. Once you give a name or an acronym to a piece of dubious appropriation or accounting sleight-of-hand (in this instance, the PDAF and DAP respectively), it becomes subject to encapsulation — like the way a single symbol, like a crucifix, can be used to refer to a notion that takes millions of words over 2000 years to explain.

The trouble with the way Pork was encapsulated as “PDAF” and “DAP” and then ruled “unconstititional” simply means that mutant forms of pork that are immune to or exploit loopholes inherent to the specificity of the coverage of the SC’s DAP and PDAF rulings can evolve and proliferate again. The fact, that Ebola has a name, for example, means that it has become a defined target for vaccine development. When a vaccine is developed for Ebola, it will likely be called — what else — the Ebola Vaccine. But the Ebola pathogen can mutate into something else — something unnamed. And if the mutation awards the new pathogen with properties beyond the scope of that hypothetical “Ebola Vaccine”, it will successfully propagate and will likely be given a new name once scientists become aware of it and isolate it.

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

The 2015 budget, as columnist Neal Cruz points out in his piece Pork barrel in 2015 budget is fatally-infected with a new and unnamed strain of pork that will likely prosper — because the pork legal vaccine administered by the SC is PDAF- and DAP-specific. Granted it is the nature of transaction within a legal framework. Perhaps the groups that lodged the PDAF and DAP complaints (not to denigrate those heroic initiatives) had inadvertently framed the resulting SC rulings around the nature of their mechanisms rather than on the nature of their intent. Cruz states the obvious as to what this intent is…

[The President] can use [P500-billion lump-sum appropriation in the 2015 budget] to influence members of Congress, as had been done with the PDAF and its predecessors and with the DAP, as well as for electioneering, as had been done with the Fertilizer Fund, and for other purposes.

The SC rulings on those prior identified and named strains of pork are, in essence, not scalable enough, not resilient enough, not future-proof enough to inoculate Philippine society against mutant strains armed with the same intent. And Filipinos, again, are left with no legal basis to stop these outbreaks.

Filipinos find no shame in their mendicant culture.

Filipinos find no shame in their mendicant culture.

This illustrates where the next — and harder — battle needs to be fought to end pork barrel politics in the Philippines. This battle is around crushing the whole idiotic idea held among ordinary Filipinos that Philippine legislators are some sort of Santa Claus figures. They are not. Their job is to craft laws and refine on an on-going basis the country’s legal framework. In Australia, for example, the idea that one can ask money from a Member of Parliament is completely ridiculous. One can ask that certain types of legislation be pushed. But Australians do not ask money from their representatives in their legislature.

Contrast that with the mindset in the Philippines. Congressional and Senate seats are lost and won in the vote on the basis of how well or how inept a politician is at pandering to the renowned mendicancy of the Philippine electorate.

While the groups that lodged and successfully saw through complaints against the PDAF and DAP are commendable and deserve their place in history, we are, unfortunately already seeing the limits to combatting pork barrel politics via that angle. So long as the President (both the incumbent and future bozos who will reside in the Palace) and Congress (widely-described very aptly as the country’s biggest criminal syndicate) are in cahoots to keep all mutant strains of pork in this and future national budgets, Philippine politics will not change.

The key lies in changing the nature of the relationship between Philippine legislators and their constituents — from the current patron-to-mooch embarrassment to a more modern stakeholder representation model befitting a 21st Century democracy.

9 Replies to “Pork Barrel has evolved from PDAF and DAP into something that is yet-to-be-named”

  1. Thieves disguised as politicians would always find, modify,create and innovate ways on how to steal public funds. PDAF and DAP were declared unconstitutional by SC already. The politicians/thies headed by PNoy, supported by budget scam architect Butch Abad and the rest of the LP mafia bounce back with new energy and vigor in using,misusing and abusing public funds.

  2. Pork barrel is bad. It supports patronage politics. Patronage politics allows dynasties and evil politicians to stay in power. These bad politicians make policies that hinder development. It is a sickening cycle of stealing and cheating.

    And PNoy answered:“ I am open for having a second term.“

  3. “Might as well abolish congress then…..”

    -Franklin Drilon

    and the senate for that matter. Simplest solution.

    They are useless now anyway. The Philippines is a small country compared to the US where they need representatives and governors. With the advances in technology, we can make do without a person representing a city, municipality/province. I don’t feel that my congressman really represents me or his constituents anyway, who does, BTW?

    We do not need anybody anymore crafting idiotic bills and signing them into idiotic laws. Just implement the laws we have now, and implement it well. We do not need a couple of hundred heads just craft a useful bill.

    The national budget deliberations can be chucked also, let each municipality, city, province budget their own annual income – their income, their budget. If that income is not enough for their annual budget then, they are not doing their job well enough and should be replaced by more competent people. Issues brought up to the national level should be well justified such as matters with large scale infra projects. Clearly, a city/provincial/municipal administrator who is really able to do his job will prosper his jurisdiction.

    That is, in my over simplistic, uneducated opinion.

    1. Interesting that you classify a country of 100 million people as a ‘small country’ and simultaneously jump off the democracy bandwagon.

  4. So long as the people live for handouts and view the government as Santa Clause, pork will continue to exist in one form or another. The chain won’t break easily.

    1. @Tank
      It’s the government officials who do not wish to break “the chain”. They want the masses to be so dependent on them, so the masses are vulnerable and easily manipulated to do their bidding.

      Instead of innovating for genuine progress, they spend their time, resources, and energy scheming and devising ways to con the country. What little intellectual capital left (assuming there still is), is devoted to milking the coffers and then sending out the trolls and propaganda lapdogs to do spins & damage control to hide their masters’ dirty deeds.

  5. The servants of themselves break the rules as they continue doling out PDAF. They go as far as redefining terms like savings to circumvent the unconstitutional rulings made by the Supreme Court. I would like to see the IBP or the SC motu propio issuing civil contempt on these lawmakers who think that they are above the law. Ours is a rule of law and not of men and the SC should start kicking ass! You stupid people in the Legislature should wake up! The Supreme Court is Supreme!

  6. DAP, PDAF, Pork Barrel,etc…whatever you call it; are legalize way for Aquino and his bunch of cahoot Thieves, to STEAL from the National Treasury…

    These Criminals are already used to this kind of legalized stealing. They cannot live without it. They are KLEPTOMANIACS, who are restless, if they cannot Steal from the National Treasury.

    If we can remove this legalize way by which they can steal…it may lead to the true: “matuwid na daan…” Not Aquino’s “matuwid na daan”, which is diretso sa bulsa nila…

  7. No one in politics in the Fail-ippines ‘inadvertently’ does anything.
    the ‘framing’ of the laws so as to make the next edition of the bribes elected officials, without shame, take every single year could be called a ‘tax-payer gift’ or ‘tax-payer allowance’ and it still would not matter.
    The people will continue to be abused until they say “ENOUGH” and act accordingly.

    Hobbs said something about,ER..UH…

    “NASTY SHORT AND BRUTISH”…yep, and he was right.Put that in reverse or inverted as its the only way to deal with these so-called ‘laws’…and the vermin that create them.

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.