Raiders of Public Funds

Any administration would always aim to control congress for obvious reasons. One of them is smooth passage of pet measures of the palace . And of course, shielding the man in Malacanang from possible impeachment. And money, lots of money is the way to do it. Now comes Senator Ping Lacson. His gun blazing and told the Filipino people that ‘pork runs into hundreds of billions’. It’s hidden, and only Malacanang is blind not to see it. That hidden pork is a source of kickback. No need to emphasize. Everybody knows it.

How do these greedy people with sticky fingers take advantage of public funds? That instead of those tax money be channeled to social services and opportunities cascading to the benefit of communities, the money wind up in their bank accounts, here and abroad, and in their personal vaults. Aren’t you wondering why they’ve no flourishing profession nor business, yet they are so rich? When they were not yet in congress, they were contented with second hand cars and one car-garage house. Now they have houses in Manila and maybe in the United States and are in the name of kins or trusted friends. The one who were born to riches are the greedier ones. Their lust for money is a bottomless pit, so to speak. Sila ang masiba .

A senator for example gets 200 million pesos per year as his ‘pork’. This is tucked in every annual budget. If the senator served for 12 years,( he or she got elected in his/her first term consisting of six years and got re-elected for another six years) and multiply Ph200 million by 6, it would mean Ph 1.2 billion. And if in the average he/ she pocketed thirty percent, the sum total is Ph360 million. Cool. Parang tumama sa lotto ng tatlong beses.

A congressman gets Ph70 million per year as his ‘pork’. In many cases, many solons serve three terms, meaning a good nine years. Multiply 9xPh70 million =Ph630 million. And assuming only 30% is the kickback it will sum up to a cool Ph189 million. The income from pork is just one source of a corrupt member of congress. Their insatiable greed takes them lobbying for more projects and make follow ups at the Office of the Budget Secretary for the special release order (Saro). Pressure is commonly applied.

Case in point: The solon has a point man who gets in touch with the director or district engineer of the Department of Public Works. The same point man picks the contractor and advise the DPWH who is the chosen contractor. To ‘legitimize’ the rigged bidding only those picked contractors are issued bidding documents. Those who are hard headed and refuse to cooperate are given hard times and for invented reasons are disqualified from participating in the bidding.

The winning bidder is already known even before the bidding process started. From the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) all the way to the district engineer/ director to the solon and few more functionaries along the way, more than fifty percent of the total cost of the project went to the pockets of these ‘raiders of public funds’. Congressman alone pocketed 30%. The rest was distributed equitably among the ‘public servants’, aka public thieves.

End result? Mga puto sekong karsada. After two years craters and cracks on our roads. Blame the ‘raiders of public funds’.

Editor’s Note: Formerly newspaperman of Daily Inquirer and other major dailies; former TV and radio Broadcaster.

Former Director of various corporations like Clark Development Co.; and a former City of Angeles Councillor. Now a regular columnist of Sun Star Pampanga