Outrage over pork barrel: Are we seeing another EDSA?

Fugitive Janet Napoles: A name synonymous with shameless pork barrel allocations

Fugitive Janet Napoles: A name synonymous with shameless pork barrel allocations

By Ludy Astraquillo Ongkeko, Ph.D.

From our homeland to North America’s shores, what has been denounced incessantly as a humongous reported scam — derived from taxpayers’ funds direly needed by the country’s length and breadth supposedly to be received through legislators from both houses of Congress — has emerged as a scandal of scandalous proportions elsewhere.

“Elsewhere” has been defined outside the Philippines. But ‘elsewhere’ has taken a different meaning via the Internet.

Ownership of luxury residences abroad is being traced to a last name associated with alleged pork barrel scandal. Non-existence of concocted non-government organizations (NGOs) no longer belongs to hearsay.

The pork barrel’s use and abuse stemmed from what was well-known as the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) which goes through a cyclic phenomenon, has now been the focus of investigation by both the Department of Justice and the National Bureau of Investigation.

Origins of the PDAF come from monies provided to members of Congress meant to be spent on “specific projects in their home districts.” As such, pork barrel projects have, through the years, become ‘easy targets’ of critics against wasteful spending by government.

Were one to ask a college-bound Filipino American from my gender whether or not she’d be on her ‘way,’ to educational pursuits without parental assistance and student loans, the answer would be a determined affirmation.

How would such a FilAm coed feel as she has learned, that one who is a self-proclaimed celebrity from the homeland has been living a life of luxury against the background of Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Los Angeles ritzy ‘exclusives,’ on allegedly procured ill-gotten funds from the Philippine population through bogus organizations?

The aforementioned was echoed by mothers whose daughters are U.S.-born and bred.
It is no longer talk: it has morphed into a scandal of ceaseless proportions that one daughter “intentionally crushed” the supposed celebrity world of the Los Angeles area, not to skip acres of ‘coverage.’ Through the Internet, photos went viral because of highly-sought and ‘acclaimed’ exposure by the same self-appointed “celebrity.” She not only gave a bad name to the striving Filipinas at home, but also to the Filipina the world over. Everyone decried what was viewed from the opulence, extravagantly displayed abroad, accompanied by lists of expenditures from designer names including properties acquired (in cash) that ran the gamut of residences and the world’s highest-priced vehicles.

News sources in our birthplace are outraged. Their collective ire knows no boundaries. The same voices were so aghast at the evident ‘negligence’ from both the executive and legislative branches of government.

This writer was challenged: “If you’ve been looking for outrage happening that tops what are already outrageous, nothing can beat the ‘10B Scam.’”

Whatever scams have been perpetuated in the past pale in comparison to that 10B bogus NGO Scam.

Exponents of the law should not waste time in the investigation required for such reported anomalies. Those pork barrel funds already handed out, already given to the legislators, demand immediate investigation.

Is it just going to be one of live-and-learn for the legislators? The Filipino people demand immediate action. Brush-offs should not take place.

Funds received by legislators should have gone immediately to the needs of infrastructure, schools, clinics and places where the immediate needs of the less fortunate could be acted upon.

Loreto F.R., a just-retired school administrator expressed indignation at the perpetrators of the non-existent NGOs responsible for the kind of extravagant living “exported” to the U.S.

“Don’t all those participants feel shame?” was her comment. She just retired from De La Salle University; she is now a volunteer to those who have tutorial needs in the three R’s. Along with another colleague, Loreto said the people should rise in protest in denunciation of the way pork barrel funds have been brazenly used.

A Million People Protest is currently being organized for August 26 in front of the Luneta Grandstand. Filipinos in the Philippines and also those in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco are organizing the rally called “Isang Milyon Martsa sa Luneta.” The rally will ask that the pork barrel be scrapped and that the legislators involved be investigated and charged accordingly. — Editor

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  1. mm. wrote:

    Lets demand to stop the Pork barrel money give always to members of the Philippine Congress, and spend the money to housing the poor and working poor and fix roads, highways and bridges.

  2. […] people should rise in protest in denunciation of the way pork barrel funds have been brazenly used. – The […]

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