BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya, Nov. 21, 2014—A high-ranking member of the clergy lambasts how president Benigno Aquino III “bullies” the Supreme Court (SC), while he himself is mired in pork barrel controversies.
“While the government has prided itself about overcoming what it has pictured to be the arrant corruption of the past, we have been told that pork allocations under President Aquino have ballooned to proportions heretofore unseen,” declares Bishop Ramón B. Villena of Nueva Vizcaya’s Diocese of Bayombong.
In his latest pastoral exhortation, the prelate points out the fact that despite the SC’s ruling on the unconstitutionality of parts of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) planned no less than by PNoy and Budget Secretary Butch Abad, Aquino continues to defend the pork barrel.
“How can a government claim righteousness that shows scant regard for the legality of its actions in respect to public money?” Villena asks.
The bishop notes that a spate of reprisals followed the SC’s ruling unfavorable to PNoy and the pork barrel.
“He asked for constitutional amendments to ‘clip the powers of the judiciary’. His allies have endeavored to sever the Court’s control over the Judiciary Development Fund, and there are reliable reports that local government units have been instructed to desist from giving judges the allowances that such units have extended to members of the Bench,” he shares.
Villena stresses the judiciary is designed to check on excesses of the political branches of government and that its members are not elected, but selected on the basis of competence, educational qualification and merit.
According to him, obstructing the judiciary and its movements run contrary to a government that must exercise its powers within the confines of law.
“I am particularly troubled by what I now take to be established: that DAP was used in part to entice Senators to vote for the conviction of Chief Justice Renato Corona at his impeachment trial. This cannot but be the height of injustice. To pay for the conviction of a man was an evil against which the prophets inveighed in the strongest terms possible, and in the name of God,” he states. (Raymond A. Sebastián / CBCPNews)