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Monthly Archives: August 2013

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These last few weeks, I’ve been closely following the expose’ about the P10 billion worth of funds that have been funneled to the deep pockets of our politicians in the Philippines. It did not come as a surprise as it’s quite obvious how these people flaunt their wealth and luxurious lifestyles despite holding positions that are merely offering salaries in the range of  only P40,000. But the real concern is, how did it take them so long to realize this? Even an elementary student can tell you that it doesn’t quite add up.

 The crux of the matter is that we have greedy politicians abusing their power and siphoning these funds into their personal accounts. The evil of it all comes from the Priority Development Assistance Funds ( a.k.a Pork Barrel) which is an amount (roughly P200M per senator per year and P70 million for congressmen) made available to them at their discretion. In an ideal world, an honest and trustworthy politician will use his power to make sure that this reaches our poor farmers and fishermen, books ,education funds for the public, quality healthcare and public services for the masses to name a few but greed comes into the equation and I’m not saying that all our politicians are dirty but a good number of them are shameless and have such thick skins, you’d wonder if they’ll even burn if tossed in hell.

 Once upon a time, I was part of the working class in the Philippines, with mandatory tax deductions at the end of every payday ranging from a thousand to three thousand pesos. It would have been alright is these funds went to a rightful cause but they were just digits that we get deducted each and every time without fail just so they can fill their closets with Channel and Louboutins and live the good life. So no, it’s not encouraging news for an expat like me. I’d rather slave off in this tax free country than go home and contribute to their fat bank accounts.

Janet Napoles-Lim who is in the middle of all this frenzy appears all innocent, claiming not to even know what pork barrel is. Scandalous. I read and saw the video of her roundtable discussion with the Inquirer news and it’s quite obvious that she is out of her mind, insisting that they have acquired their wealth by legal means while the corporate tax filings fail to prove such and even after being dumped with piles of evidences linking her to dodgy Non-Government Organizations that are beneficiaries of the funds, she still tries to wiggle her way out albeit with everyone already finding her guilty in the court of public opinion. Never mind that she was previously involved in another fiasco in the supply of Kevlar Helmets to the Philippine Marines where her husband used to work. It isn’t so random, is it?  You would expect that for someone claiming to be a successful tycoon in the coal mining business, being forthcoming wouldn’t be too difficult but her web of lies are quickly catching up on her and doing that interview was like digging her own grave.

I’m slightly disappointed though that so much focus is being given to her when the Commission of Audit has already announced their initial findings on the misuse of these funds. Time is of the essence here. Parading the results to the public will just stir more trouble and encourage violence amongst the outraged citizens. Why don’t you act fast now and freeze all the accounts of the suspects like right about NOW?! But I’m sure the bulk of all the stolen funds must have been transferred and invested outside the country by now. We are not dealing with petty thieves here. Disgustingly, the only thing these dirty politicians are good at are planning how they can swiftly claim these funds as their own and there are various ways to do such. The cunning mind of a greedy person is a bottomless pit.

 Perhaps the biggest problem of our country is that majority of us still have very immature minds. The uneducated masses constitutes majority of the votes and they elect these thieves into office despite their incapability to lead and with past experiences of only being in the movie business. Would you hire a CEO of your company if his/her only experience is conjuring tears when the director says ‘action!’. The job of governing this country is not a joke and sadly most of our people still don’t realize that and perhaps the few people who knows how to choose are too tired to even try and make a difference.

But it doesn’t end there. Who’s to say that if we elect qualified officials, the whole system will run like a well-oiled machine? Greedy men will still exist in all forms and shapes and let’s not forget that man is insatiable. Proper checks and governance should be a priority when it comes to spending the country’s money. Hire third party companies, independent checkers – no matter how much it takes but there should be an iron clad fist when dealing with  these crooks and for heaven’s sake, pay them well enough so that they can’t be bought . More so, the penalty for getting caught should be as extreme as the death penalty. If other countries, hang drug mules and cut hands of thieves then why are we being so soft on them allowing house arrests only to be pardoned later on and be re-elected in office? Who’s got the balls to step up and just realize how wrong this all are?

Thing is, it’s a bad bad world out there. A few good men won’t make a difference but a deadly punishment for a pack of thieves gone wild might just be the answer.