[Statement] A statement against the pork barrel scam- VCDG

A statement against the pork barrel scam
by Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, D.D.
Auxiliary Bishop of Jaro and Visayas Clergy Discernment Group (VCDG) Head Convenor
August 21, 2013

Bp Gerardo Alminaza cropped

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” – Luke 16:10

We, bishops and priests of the Visayas Clergy Discernment Group, ask President Benigno Aquino III (PNOY), the Senators and Lower House Representatives to show to the Filipino people that they honor the martyrdom of Ninoy Aquino by taking steps in truly ending the culture of corruption and impunity in our country.

We join Luis Cardinal Tagle’s call for a thorough investigation, and appropriate punishment for the culprits of the Pork Barrel Scam. PNOY must go after the guilty lawmakers and other perpetrators, be they his allies or foes. Furthermore, we suggest the following: Take the budget for the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) amounting to P25.240 billion away from the hands of the Senators and Lower House Representatives. We also call on PNOY to give up his office’s corresponding “pork barrel” which the Commission on Audit identified as the Special Purpose Funds (P310.1 billion for 2014) and the Unprogrammed Funds (P139.9 billion for 2014), totaling P499 billion!

These funds must be entrusted to and managed by the sovereign people who are the REAL BOSS of our ELECTED SERVANTS. It is unfortunate that our elected servants can no longer be trusted with our people’s money; which we own. The pork barrel system is one of the ROOT CANCERS that breeds the other lethal diseases of corruption. It is not enough for the “Daang Matuwid” to run after corrupt people AFTER THE DASTARDLY DEED HAS BEEN DONE. IT is better to nip in the bud the ROOT of corruption. An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.

Moreover, everybody knows that whatever guidelines Congress and the Executive might craft regarding the pork barrel WILL NOT WORK; the system itself, which was copied from the U.S.A., has been scrapped by their federal government.

During the World Youth Day in July 2013, Pope Francis urged the Faithful to change a world where food is discarded while millions go hungry, where politics is more associated with corruption than service.

We therefore call on all concerned sectors of the Philippine society to study and propose appropriate mechanisms to RE-CLAIM OWNERSHIP of, and MANAGE the “pork barrel” funds. The people’s money should be spent for the benefit of the majority; especially for lifting the poor out of poverty, as enjoined by our beloved Pope Francis.

Programs for genuine agrarian reform, decent shelter for the informal settlers, free education for our youth, and health services for our people must be prioritized.

As we commemorate the 30th anniversary of the assassination of Ninoy Aquino, may PNOY, the lawmakers and all of us prove that indeed, Ninoy was not martyred in vain; and that we are truly committed to a straight path by giving to the people, especially the poor, what is due to them.

As Christ lives,

BISHOP GERARDO ALMINAZA, D.D.
Auxiliary Bishop of Jaro/ Head Convenor of the Visayas Clergy Discernment Group (VCDG)
Tel. No. (033) 329-1625

VISAYAS CLERGY DISCERNMENT GROUP
E-Mail Address: visayasclergydiscernment@yahoo.com

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