Baligod: Senate bid rests on people’s wish for clean gov’t
CLARK FREEPORT—Lawyer Levito Baligod is tapping the anticorruption aspiration of voters to carry him to the Senate, saying he could not compete with senatorial candidates who have unlimited resources and a political network.
“I think I would have a fighting chance only if the law on election spending is followed,” he said.
As an independent candidate, Baligod can spend only P5 per voter based on the caps set in Republic Act No. 7166, or the Synchronized National and Local Elections Law of 1991.
Even then, he said, he could not afford a 30-second spot, which costs P350,000 in major television networks.
So for his campaign, Baligod is limiting his messages to fighting corruption, modernizing agricultural production and putting back moral values in the education system.
“We need to fight corruption because its effect on our economy, political system and psyche is big,” he said.
He said politicians this year misspent P500 billion in pork barrel, officially known as the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
Baligod is the private complainant in the plunder cases against three senators and 25 representatives who assigned their PDAF to businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.
Napoles bribe offer
Now detained, Napoles devised ghost projects through fake nongovernment organizations and bogus beneficiaries. Baligod said Napoles transacted with 120 representatives and 20 senators.
Napoles, he said, offered him P300 million to shut up and stop talking about the scam.
Baligod said putting public funds to good use would help the country.
“If you have 18 million poor families, giving them two sacks of rice yearly or putting scholars in schools from Grade 1 to fourth-year college won’t use up P500 billion. Give P100 million per town and P300 million per province, P500 billion won’t be gone,” he said.
Citing the United Nations Development Program’s estimate, he said 40 percent of the national budget “is wasted on corruption.” That could amount to P800 billion in 2015, he said.
He accused the Aquino administration of protecting allies involved in the pork barrel racket to preserve political alliances.
Like Lacson, Bello
“When three senators (Juan Ponce Enrile, Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada) were jailed, impunity was shattered. But when this administration spared its allies, through selective justice, impunity resumed and corruption worsened,” he said.
“The Supreme Court abolished the PDAF but public money is corrupted through lump sum appropriations, so now there is no limit to the pork barrel,” he said.
During the campaign, he said, it would be difficult for him to stand on the same stage with those involved in the PDAF scam. He said he, former Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello and former Sen. Panfilo Lacson have formed a group of independent senatorial candidates. Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon