IT APPEARS now that with newly installed House Speaker Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco’s leadership, some of the representatives who erstwhile had griped over getting a smaller piece of pork will finally have their fair share in the 2021 budget. The motivations are clear no matter how the honorable lawmakers mask the whole melee as being a matter of sticking to the “gentlemen’s agreement” on term-sharing. Let’s just refrain from kidding ourselves. The coalition of 186 or so representatives and the rest of them simply starve for that morsel of pork to deliver on their promises, it’s a matter of saving both the constituents and keeping a good position toward the 2022 elections. Velasco supposedly will rectify the “inequitable” allocation.
Cebu City Reps. Rodrigo Abellanosa and Raul del Mar and Rep. Emmarie Ouano-Dizon (Sixth District, Cebu Province) were among the 186 who voted for Velasco to replace Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano (Taguig-Pateros) on Oct. 12, 2020.
Abellanosa said that in the proposed 2021 national budget, the north district will get P992,436,000, while the south district will get P912,787,000. These amounts are no less different from the 2020 figures, which he said were “small” considering Cebu City’s contribution to the national coffers.
Del Mar, on the other hand, in a text message to SunStar Cebu said he voted for Velasco because under the latter’s speakership, his constituents in the north district could get more.
Almost lost in this tricky circus of power play in the House is the notion of pork, in retrospect rejected in 2013 by no less than the Supreme Court, which declared the past administration’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) unconstitutional. Remember the outrage over the supposed discretionary fund ending in the pockets of individuals instead of being spent for the welfare of constituents? The PDAF was just part of the whole pork barrel system, and the high court’s ruling was only one small victory in the fight against it. We wonder how many of those who shared that same outrage is reacting to the pork quarrel in the House now.
Regardless of any mechanisms for check and balances, if ever there are, in the spending of funds allocated for the lawmakers, there is always that question of whether the disbursement of funds for projects is part of a legislator’s job. Isn’t that an encroachment on the role of the executive?
Such a naïve question, actually, since we know for a fact that the pork barrel system exists to buy out support, to keep coalitions intact and whatnot.
This doesn’t help in the government’s supposed fight against corruption. Which is why we wonder what happened to the old outrage against pork.