Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The resurrection of Pork in 2015---is the palace trying to test the Masa in relation to the pork barrel issue?

The palace knows that in every survey and poll conducted by several outlets, partisan or not, what is most evident is the public's aversion to pork barrel scam. Until now, inspite of the absence of big rallies, most people still feel anger whenever they hear something similar or even indistinctly similar to it. Whether its PDAF or just plain DAP, mere mention of this creature makes us crinch.

The President knows this, and I think even this Butch Abad, the budget's man. And now comes Senators Miriam Defensor Santiago and Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. raising red flags on the proposed 2015 national budget.

Santiago even says there are about 37 billion pesos of pork "inserted" into the 2015 budget. These so-called pork comes from a form called "lump sum". Bongbong discovered about 13 billion worth of "lump sums" in projects originally under the domain of the DPWH and the National Housing Authority which have now been allocated to the DILG. Several billions were likewise discovered by Bongbong in the budget of the DSWD.

What business does the DILG have in constructing low-cost housing for informal settlers? What expertise does the DILG have in constructing water supply systems? The DILG is supposed only to provide supervision, but not construction, of such things when they are already constructed in LGUs.

Maybe Mar Roxas wants nothing more than have his say on low-cost housing since his would-be political nemesis in 2016, Vice president Jejomar Binay, seems to enjoy giving houses left and right to the poor. There are two things which the poor needs---own house and clean water.

Mar's handlers in the Liberal party probably thought that the DILG should dip their fingers into this to assure Mar's electoral victory. And they think 13 billion or to be precise, 12.9 billion is the magic number to top whatever Binay already did for the poor with his budget as NHA/Pagibig head.

For budget secretary Butch Abad, these "lump sums" are constitutional and within the legal contemplation of the Belgica case which the Supreme Court used to define what they think about "lump sum" appropriations and of "savings".

Abad and even House chief Feliciano Belmonte defended themselves and said they followed the law when they crafted the bill which they then submitted to the Senate.

Senator Chiz Escudero which everybody knows as an administration stooge, tried to stand up and defend the bill before his former law professor but eventually is found wanting.

No amount of voice modulation can ever hide the fact that this 2015 proposed National Budget is full of illegal insertions (called "errata") that are essential for the political survival of allies of this administration. These errata assure the administration allies of continued funding onward to the 2016 elections. Everyone knows that 2015 is THE ELECTION year, and without sufficient funding, how can a poor and widely villified character like Mar win an election against a hugely popular Nognog like Binay?

Obviously, the trying hard Liberals need every centavo to create a favorable environment and justify an election result that they want. Short of saying that they need billions to calibrate a scenario of winnability to avert a possible civil war.