The feigned ignorance of some lawmakers about the misuse of their pork barrel funds is illogical, improbable and something we should all answer with the words, “Ano tingin mo sa akin, tanga?”
Imagine a pig in a pig sty, snout covered in shit, telling us “Oh, I didn’t know what I was eating.”
I was in Congress for nine years. I saw how zealously congressmen and senators treat their share of the pork. In fact, for many members of Congress, their projects are more important than their legislative work because it is their main source of political patronage and funding, which are so crucial in winning elections. Politicians tend to treat their pork barrel as personal funds, requiring that every peso, every goddamn centavo, is spent in the pursuit of one’s personal politicial and/or economic agenda.
Besides, there are mechanisms to prevent a congressman’s or senator’s pork from being hijacked by grafters and scammers. One is that funds are allocated by the DBM based on a formal request by the legislator. This undergoes a verification process. It goes without saying that a legislator is supposed to check, before endorsing a project for public funding, details like how the project will be implemented and who the beneficiaries are.
Two, legislators are advised by the budget department once the funds are alloted (via Special Allotment Release Order) or ready for release (Notice of Cash Allocation), allowing them to monitor the downloading of the funds to the concerned implementing agencies or LGUs. In fact, legislators hire staff just to follow up their SAROs and NCAs at the DBM.
Three, national agencies or LGUs usually seek the go-signal of the congressman or senator before implementing their projects. Takot lang nila to get the ire of these powerful people.
And four, even during project imolementation, the legislator has the power to check whether the project is being properly implemented and to make the necessary changes if it is not.
But for these high and mighty government officials to now tell us that they were victims of scammers like Napoles, for them to make us believe that they would treat so cavalierly something that would make or break their chances at the polls, that is simply insulting.
The idea that one is unaware that one’s PDAF is being chanelled through a bogus NGO with fake members or that his signature was forged somewhere down the road of project implementation is just plain baloney. It is pure hogwash. Binaboy n’yo na kami, huwag n’yo naman kaming gawing tanga.#