Dispatch from Crame No. 431: Statement of Sen. Leila M. de Lima on Speaker Arroyo’s scandalous Pork Barrel


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That former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo allotted P2.4 billion in pork barrel to her district in the 2019 budget comes as no surprise. It is scandalous and shameless, but hardly a surprise. We do not expect anything less from Speaker Arroyo who, during her rule as President, was known for putting self-interest above public service.

The endless string of corruption investigations and plunder inquiries that plagued her administration is legendary. In granting her district a lion’s share of the pork in the 2019 budget, Arroyo shows us that she has not changed.

Arroyo knows that what she did will not escape the notice of Senators, especially with anti-pork champion Sen. Ping Lacson guarding over pork insertions in the budget like a bloodhound. This only means that she doesn’t care. She is the Speaker of the House and a former President.

She has already survived plunder charges before. She is not about to let anything such as delicadeza get in the way of rewarding herself with P2.4 billion in pork for her district. She is not Speaker of the House for nothing.

That is what she is in power for. Sen. Lacson and all other anti-pork advocates can expose and criticize her as much as they want, but the billions in pork is her reward as a major Duterte ally, if not as his co-President of the Philippines.

Arroyo’s short stint as House Speaker will be remembered the same way as her presidency, one that is driven by self-interest. Arroyo has led the House approval for charter change that removes term limits, including her own. She has pushed for deals with the Chinese government, in the hope of continuing her own dalliance with China that, in the past, would have been personally rewarding if not for the expose’ on the NBN-ZTE scandal. She has called for Congress’s withdrawal from the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), after the world organization of legislators came out with resolutions citing the political persecution of opposition senators. Now she has the House earmarking billions for her district, without any justification other than the fact that it is her district.

In so far as Arroyo is concerned, and for other dynastic trapos in our midst, this is what everything boils down to: power at the service of one’s self, rather than the public. This is what she strived to be in power for all this time, then as President, and now as House Speaker. The P2.4 billion is her reward to herself for getting back to power.

Finally, I must commend Sen. Lacson for being a consistent anti-pork, anti-corruption crusader. I’m with him on this. ###

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