Former National Treasurer Leonor Magtolis-Briones estimated that President Aquino’s pork barrel fund amounts to P1.3 trillion ($30 billion), almost half of the proposed national budget of P2.6 trillion ($60 billion).
By MARYA SALAMAT
MANILA – While speaking before the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals Wednesday morning, Pres. Benigno Aquino III deplored being tagged as “pork barrel king,” claiming he has reduced opportunities for him to receive pork barrel funds. In interviews with the media after that, he dared critics to go out and impeach him. Protest actions against pork barrel and corruption continue to hound the Aquino administration.
But Aquino deserves to be called “pork barrel king,” the progressive labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) said in a statement released hours later. KMU is one of the pork barrel critics who first called Presdient Aquino as the “pork barrel king.” The labor group expressed disgust over Aquino’s self-praise which, they said, were made at a time when he is being directly implicated in allegations that he had released “bribes” to senators from the so-called Disbursement Allocation Program or DAP.
“It is disgusting that more than halfway into his term, Aquino continues to blame the previous administration in an effort to deflect the public’s attention from the grave crimes that are being committed under his administration,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, chairman of KMU.
The KMU traced Aquino’s actions vis-a-vis the pork barrel scam, which, according to the labor group, proved that Aquino is a “Pork Barrel King” indeed. To list, the KMU said:
– “Despite using the anti-corruption slogans ‘Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap’ and ‘daang matuwid,’ Aquino maintained the pork barrel system, which has long been recognized by Filipinos as asource of massive corruption.”
– “Threatened with the Aug. 26 One Million March protest but wanting to maintain the pork barrel system, Aquino announced the ‘abolition’ of the PDAF or Priority Development Assistance Fund last Aug. 23 in an attempt to weaken the protest.”
– “Contrary to Aquino’s Aug. 23 statement, he did not abolish the PDAF but merely changed the mode by which politicians access pork barrel funds. He is pushing for the passage of the 2014 national budget which contains these pork barrel funds.”
– “Shaken by the Aug. 26 protest, Aquino staged the surrender of businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles but accorded her special treatment as part of an arrangement wherein she will implicate only those politicians being targeted by Malacañang.”
– “Wanting to deflect public attention from the pork barrel scam, he initiated a war and went on overkill against the Moro National Liberation Front, which merely wanted to hold a peace march in the heavily populated city of Zamboanga.”
The KMU concluded that Aquino still has the biggest pork barrel in the proposed 2014 national budget. Former National Treasurer Leonor Magtolis-Briones estimated that President Aquino’s pork barrel fund amounts to P1.3 trillion ($30 billion), almost half of the proposed national budget of P2.6 trillion ($60 billion).