MANILA, Philippines – Even the so-called “sons and daughters” of the Philippine Military Academy are irked with the alleged misuse of the “pork barrel” funds.
In a manifesto circulating online, the “concerned sons and daughters” of PMA expressed their “disgust” over what they described as “systemic plunder of public funds” by some legislators.
“We, concerned sons and daughters of the Philippine Military Academy, join the Filipino people in condemning in the strongest terms possible the systematic plunder of public funds via the pork barrel by some members of Congress and their accomplices,” the manifesto read.
“We are aghast, disgusted and enraged at such a wanton display of shamelessness by those who we elected to serve and protect the people. Rather than fulfill their sworn oaths, they unabashedly used their position to steal, deceive and enrich themselves at the expense of their fellowmen most of whom continue to suffer in utter poverty.”
“We cannot and we will not tolerate this anymore even those from among our own,” it added.
Former Army captain Ace Esmeralda, a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1989 who is now working in the private security sector, clarified that the manifesto did not represent the PMA Alumni because not all the 46 signatories were graduates of the military school as some were former cadets who did not finish the course.
“But we share the same sentiments that are founded in the academy’s motto of courage, integrity and loyalty,” Esmeralda told INQUIRER.net in a phone interview.
He said the manifesto, signed by former with soldiers who are no longer in active duty as signatories was led by no one and was a product of shared sentiments. It was first posted on a Facebook group shared by former cadets called “Bugo-Bugo” before it circulated online.
The manifesto also called for “an immediate end to the immoral pork barrel system which has proven to be the root cause of corruption and will continually besmirch and compromise the commitment and dedication of the other honorable members of the House of Representatives and the Senate.”
PMA graduates who are now in Congress include Senators Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan and Antonio Trillanes IV.
“Pork has lost its rationale. Those funds could have been used for better purposes and with clear accountability and control under the Executive branch,” the manifesto read.
Esmeralda said that Janet Lim Napoles, who is at the center of controversy after being implicated in the P10 billion pork barrel scam, started off through participating in alleged fraudulent military supply contracts.
“Napoles started in the military. We know this case,” Esmeralda said in the interview, claiming that corruption in the organization was one of the reasons why he left the service.
“They say [who is without sin] can cast the first stone. I can. I never stole anything,” he said, adding that corruption in the military has reduced through the years but it remains there.
But the signatories also stood by the President whom they believed advocated good governance.
“We trust that this government through the President who advocated good governance and the fight against corruption through the Daang Matuwid” will fulfill what they had promised,” the manifesto said.
“We believe PNoy when he said then, “Kung walang kurap, walang mahirap” and in the saying that evil triumphs when good men do nothing. Thus, we band together with other Filipinos who are similarly infuriated in expressing freely our thoughts and call to end this grave injustice. Inaction or complacency is no longer an option,” it added.
Esmeralda said he would also participate in Monday’s Million People March at Rizal Park in Luneta with a group of friends.
“For me, Luneta is the symbolic venue for our demand for accountability and transparency. If you cannot be in Luneta or in venues around the country this Monday, try to gather in front of your barangay halls and make your barangay chairmen lead the call to end corruption in government system which usually even starts at some purok level,” he said.