by Dean de la Paz, as originally posted on Blog Watch, Philippine Online Chronicles.
If masturbation, that act of sinking into a make-believe fantasy where one can imagine oneself to be either the world’s most virile stud or the universe’s hottest chick, can be described as ravishing oneself in pleasurable and unaccountable abandon, then what the Senate did to itself last week qualifies. After all, like disgusted voyeurs watching a profane spectacle, the public had viewed with extreme distaste the senate’s narcissistic orgy where participants had virtually sat on imaginary ceramic thrones and there enjoyed a vulgar self-indulgent reverie that had neither reality nor decency.
Unlike some low quality pornographic video, the sleazy spectacle was televised and each twitch and turd was caught in high definition. The Senate Committee on Finance, whose majority each received billions in pork barrel allotments, had called for the hearing so that the Disbursement Acceleration Program’s (DAP) architects would have yet another opportunity to explain themselves. Obviously, it was not enough that nationwide telecasts of a six o’clock evening prime time slot sufficed. The previous attempt starring the president of the republic flopped. Ratings continue to fall.
For those implicated, the senate hearing was important. It was also as important that the complicit be present and, even more important, that they appear to question the DAP.
To describe the senate inquiry into Benigno Aquino III’s patently unconstitutional impounding of pre-budgeted funds, its cross-border misappropriation and its statutory violation of the General Appropriations Act (GAA) as self-indulgent and narcissistic jerking off is not far fetched. Many others have described it as a Moro-moro but in many more ways, venturing well over theatrics, it is beyond mere play-acting, folk drama and farce.
Rather than seek to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision ruling the DAP as substantially unconstitutional and therefore illegal, the purpose of the senate hearing called by officials who not only participated in the DAP but are also major beneficiaries of the pork barrel system, the hearing was nothing but a cover-my-ass exercise in tomfoolery.
As the inherent weaknesses of the current impeachment protocols serve to protect the president, the other co-conspirators of the DAP are left in the open either presently or when their presidential protector steps down in 2016. Hence, as a tactful counter-ploy to protect pork barrel-fattened posteriors from prosecution, the necessity of their appearance in full force at the senate was critical.
Such self-serving and self-indulgent tact was obvious in the senate’s farcical Moro-moro.
Note the obvious. The hearings were not under the ambit of the senate committees on Justice, Ways and Means or the Blue Ribbon committee. It was called by the Committee on Finance.
Note the disconnect. The question that surrounds the DAP’s illegality has nothing to do with finance and does not fall under the ambit of the senate committee on finance. It was a judicial question. The aspect of unconstitutionality involves DAP’s legal standing and its operating protocols broken down into questionable impoundment of previously budgeted and thus authorized funds, its subsequent misappropriation and, finally, its eventual non-inclusion in the GAA which morphs it into an unauthorized expenditure.
Thus, legal issues that surround the DAP are neither financial nor economic. The attempt to continuously paint it as such is to fool the public yet again. DAP’s illegality is not a function of its usages, economic, financial, productive or otherwise.
Once again, note the obvious. Despite the legal question as being its foremost imperative, the gaggle of cabinet men that trooped to the senate did not include the secretary of justice or any of the administration’s legal counsels from the Presidential Chief Legal counsel to the Solicitor General that originally defended the DAP. In their place, as if mocking the fundamental content of the SC decision, to the immediate left and right of the budget chief sat the secretary of finance and the chief economist from the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), both directly under the president and both there to tackle issues that are essentially irrelevant to and detached from the substance of unconstitutionality and thus undisputed by the SC decision.
Quarterbacking the day after, media scored the senate for investigating a crime in which they were among the principal conspirators if not its main beneficiaries where the DAP is viewed as a political patronage mechanism as are other pork barrel mutations. Nothing can be truer.
So focused only at self-indulgent damage control was the senate hearing that the critics of the DAP, specifically those who questioned its constitutionality in the SC and those who’ve filed for subsequent impeachment proceedings against Aquino, were deliberately uninvited and snubbed by the senate. Thus the senate hearing appeared to former Sen. Joker Arroyo as a cabinet meeting comprised of “all the President’s men” collectively called to present “the administration’s side” – an astute albeit indicting observation that must invariably include the sitting senators of the senate finance committee complicit in both the DAP and the PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) pork barrel scandals.
This is the reason that the media reported only the incisive queries from Sen. Nancy Binay (UNA), with the reports depicting her as perhaps the only senator among the few untainted by the DAP who had done her homework and revealed even dirtier aspects of the DAP previously unknown and hidden from public scrutiny.
Through the unrelenting defense and virtual perpetuation of diverse mutations of the pork barrel system of patronage politics, despite his annoyance at being labeled by critics as “The Pork Barrel King”, Aquino bullheadedly insists on perpetrating a system so disdained. It has destroyed the credibility of both chambers of congress to even investigate its aberrations and then to subsequently craft legislation to legitimize what is now illegitimate and unconstitutional.
DAP has likewise destroyed the concept of separation of powers in an even more profound manner. Where DAP implicates congress there can be no checks and balances.
In that sense, Aquino’s political patronage gambit seems to have succeeded.
Screen cap from News TV. Some rights reserved.