Men with­out honor

Daily Tribune (Philippines) - - COMMENTARY - Daily Tri­bune Aldrin Car­dona

’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.

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