Men without honor
’Twas all about pork barrel — those words, anew.
That congressmen were again wrangling not really after change but the restoration of their pork should no longer surprise us. It’s their normal. Not new, just abominably normal.
What wasn’t normal was some lawmakers’ allegations that House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano got the lion’s share of the pork from next year’s national budget while the rest would not have much.
How much is much? We could not tell. But several congressmen are leaking documents every day to prove Cayetano is assured of projects tucked into the Department of Public Works and Highways’ (DPWH) 2021 funds.
Their figures vary. Some say Cayetano and just a few of his trusted allies are getting more or less P20 billion-worth of projects.
was provided with a list of projects in the Cayetanos’ Taguig City.
It listed 121 projects costing the DPWH
P9,762,773,000. It’s not even half of the P20 billion the others have claimed Cayetano is assured of, but their message was clear: The Speaker’s got more than the rest.
Cayetano splits Taguig City’s two congressional districts with his wife Lani, the former mayor. How they did it still baffles the mind, but they did it.
The Speaker is also the caretaker of Camarines Sur’s first district. Its elected representative to Congress, Marissa Lourdes Andaya, succumbed to cancer early this year.
He has a separate line in funding for projects in that district.
The Second district is represented by Cayetano ally LRay Villafuerte, who at the start of the week tried to appease the other congressmen by offering them some soft projects through the Local Government
Subsidy Fund in the name of Cayetano.
Villafuerte, some lawmakers say, is also getting a large chunk from the DPWH’s 2021 fund.
Of the five Camarines Sur representatives, it was only the third district’s Gabriel “Gabby” Bordado Jr. who reportedly returned the allocations for his area. It was worth a “measly” P1,127,591,000.
“Measly,” that was how many congressmen describe their shares. Many of them are getting P2 billion, still more will receive less.
The year 2021, however, is regarded as an “election budget year.” It was confirmed no less by Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon, a veteran of many political wars.
He had shared the senators’ fear that the national budget will again be hijacked for a different purpose.
“Ugly,” Senator Panfilo Lacson, who made it his advocacy to red-flag certain entries in the national budget he finds questionable, described it.
Cayetano’s camp tried to mask the squabble over money as “yet another attempt” by Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco to snatch the speakership.
There is no need for Velasco to steal the post from Cayetano, though, if only the incumbent House leader will honor his word.
But no, many of our lawmakers are not men of honor.
We’d easily know. Just throw money in their way and they’ll hussle each other to snatch it.
“There is no need for Velasco to steal the post from Cayetano, though, if only the incumbent House leader will honor his word.
“’Measly,’ that was how many congressmen describe their shares. Many of them are getting P2 billion, still more will receive less.