Latest Stories

Ex-Chief Justice Puno: Pork is evil

‘We must fight from start to finish’

By ,

Retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno has denounced the pork barrel system as an “evil” that people should fight to abolish.

Speaking on Saturday before a gathering of Methodist Churches at the Good Samaritan Church in Quezon City, Puno lashed out at the P10-billion pork barrel scam, saying it “could well develop to be the worst to hit the government as billions of pesos misused by our public officials can still be unearthed by the Commission on Audit (COA).”

“However you look at it, the pork barrel scandal is all about abuse in the exercise of the powers of government, especially the legislative power over the money of the people,” he said.

The retired Chief Justice was referring to the controversy involving the alleged diversion of the congressional Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), or pork barrel, to bogus nongovernment organizations (NGOs) in schemes involving lawmakers and detained businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.

“The pork barrel is an evil practice and it is our duty to fight evil by engaging it and not running away from it, not escaping from it,” he said.

“The fight against evil requires that we not only start the fight but we finish the fight. The fight against evil demands a period. The fight cannot be postponed by a comma, cannot be suspended by a ceasefire. Evil deserves but one end—defeat,” he added.

Plunder charges were filed last week against Napoles and Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. in the Office of the Ombudsman. Charges of either plunder or malversation of public funds also were filed against 34 other people.

In his speech, Puno asked what should be the response of Methodists to the controversy considering that people had expressed their indignation against the scam by flocking to protest rallies in Manila’s Rizal Park and Edsa.

Puno cited four ways to understand the issue via Methodist teachings and the 1987 Constitution—the source of power of the government, the role of government, political responsibility of the State and their position on graft and corruption.

“In sum, the Methodist position in regard to abuse of governmental power is clear, unchanging and unchangeable. Our North Star has always been and will always be the Word of God. We maintain that government derives its power from God; that it is the sovereignty of God that counts, it is the sovereignty of God that controls, its the sovereignty of God that should dictate the direction of human destiny,” Puno said.

Disquieting theft

As Methodists, they view that the government only exists to serve the people and that “the only rationale of the government is to maintain order by promoting good and not evil, and above all, the government must be an instrument of God, hence no government can subvert the sovereignty of God,” Puno said.

He said the pork barrel scam was a “sad story repeated again and again in the history of governments.”

But Puno said the scam was more than the story of “mass theft” of the people’s money and that “more disquieting is how the money was misused against the people’s interest.”

“It was misused for political patronage; to buy the loyalty of people whose politics is for sale; to corrupt our system of making laws; to corrupt our systems of enforcing our laws; to corrupt our system of election; to perpetuate poverty; in other words, to violate the dignity of our people, to demean our democracy, and worse of all, to defy the sovereignty of God,” he said.

The retired Chief Justice said this was “God’s battle” as it was a struggle between good and evil. “This is a battle between God’s power and evil people in power,” he said.

And when evil reigns, this is temporary while goodness is permanent, he said.

“Let us take comfort in God’s promise that evil may succeed for a moment but goodness shall prevail for only the right born of righteousness has the power to rise and to prevail,” Puno said.

Plea to lift TRO

Malacañang on Sunday said it would not stop members of the House of Representatives from asking the Supreme Court to lift the temporary restraining order (TRO) on the allocation of their pork barrel for poor students and indigent patients.

Should the lawmakers go ahead with the filing of the motion on Monday, it’s the call of the high court whether to grant it, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a radio interview.

“It’s not defiance. That’s different from disobeying a TRO. In effect, they’re bringing the side of the Lower House to the attention of the high court,” Valte said over government-run dzRB. “It’s up to the Supreme Court how to act on the move.”

Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, vice chair of the appropriations committee, said the motion would specifically ask the high tribunal to free up pork barrel funds for scholarships and medical assistance programs.

The pork-barreling lawmaker said the Office of the Ombudsman had been furnished copies of affidavits of scholars and indigent patients who continued to depend on PDAF allocations. With the TRO, allocation for such programs has been stopped.

The high tribunal issued the TRO on Sept. 10 pending the resolution of a petition questioning the constitutionality of the PDAF.

P12.27B frozen

The high court stopped the Department of Budget and Management, national treasurer and executive secretary from releasing the remaining funds allocated to members of Congress under the General Appropriations Act of 2013.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said some P12.27 billion in PDAF for the second semester in 2013 had not been released.

After President Aquino announced the abolition of the PDAF in the national budget, a growing number of lawmakers have expressed concern over the possible discontinuation of assistance to students and patients in their congressional districts.

The abolition came in the face of public outrage over the P10-billion pork barrel scam, fanned by news and state auditors’ reports on the large-scale misuse of the PDAF over 10 years, especially during the Arroyo administration.

Valte also said Malacañang would look into reports that the PDAF allocations of certain senators had been channeled through Philippine Forest Corp. to questionable NGOs from 2010 to 2012.

“We will take a look at what Secretary (Ramon) Paje has found because I understand that from the onset of the administration, Secretary Paje has been asking that the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) be taken out of the menu of implementing agencies that could be identified as possible implementers of programs sourced from PDAF. If they found something, let’s see what it is that they found,” she said.

Originally posted: 10:03 pm | Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: abolition , Judiciary , Methodist Church , News , Philippines , Politics , Pork barrel , pork barrel scam , pork barrel system , Priority Development Assistance Fund , public figure , reform , Reynato Puno

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  2. Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  3. Palace prepared to charge its allies
  4. Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  5. Napoles turnaround alarms whistle-blowers
  6. What Went Before: Malacañang allies alleged involvement in pork scam
  7. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  8. Timeline: Napoles tell-all
  9. HK apology: Why Estrada and not Aquino?
  10. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  3. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  4. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  5. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  6. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  7. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  8. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  9. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  10. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  1. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  2. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  3. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano


  • Smooth Edsa ride up in 2 years, but…
  • Obama: US will defend Japan vs China
  • Santiago accuses Lacson of fronting for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  • Name names, Lacson told
  • Ukraine FM: We are ready to fight Russia
  • Sports

  • Sharapova advances to Stuttgart quarterfinals
  • Galedo caps ride of redemption
  • Beermen, Express dispute second semis slot today
  • Lady Agilas upset Lady Bulldogs in four sets
  • NLEX roars to 7th D-League win
  • Lifestyle

  • Marinduque: Visiting the ‘palm of the ocean’
  • First at Vatican in 60 years
  • How Jing Monis Salon gave Krissy the pixie
  • Want to be a supermodel? Work on your inner beauty, says Joey Espino
  • Denims that keep you cool–literally
  • Entertainment

  • Kristoffer Martin: from thug to gay teen
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Cris Villonco on play adapted from different medium
  • OMB exec’s assurance: We work 24/7
  • Business

  • How author of best-seller exposed ‘one percent’ economic elite
  • Bangko Sentral readies new bank lending rules
  • Gaming stocks gain, PSEi eases on profit-taking
  • Cebu Pacific flew 3.74M passengers as of March
  • Corporate bonds sweeteners
  • Technology

  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Opinion

  • Editorial Cartoon, April 25, 2014
  • No deal, Janet
  • Like making Al Capone a witness vs his gang
  • MERS-CoV and mothers
  • A graduation story
  • Global Nation

  • HK victims to get P115M; traders raised money
  • Afghan hospital guard kills 3 American doctors
  • Career diplomat is new PH consul general in Los Angeles
  • US4GG: Aquino should ask Obama for TPS approval, drone technology
  • Complex health care system for California’s elderly and poor explained
  • Marketplace