Mega-projects mean P100 billion in the pockets of GMA supporters

July 25, 2006 at 11:13 am Leave a comment

Read between the lines: ‘Mega-projects’ mean Mega-Pork barrel for President GMA

The SONA sounded like a campaign speech because that is exactly what it was all about. She literally foisted the pork barrel upon Congress and the local governments in exchange for their loyalty.

The speech sought to accomplish two things. First, it was an order to kill the impeachment complaint. She was saying that despite her unpopularity, sticking with her certainly pays.

The second reason is electoral. She wants to make sure that she controls Congress after the 2007 elections. She is compensating with funds and machinery what she grossly lacks in terms of political palatability and legitimacy.

“Going by the projection of former budget secretary Benjamin Diokno that the mega-projects would require P500 billion, about 20% of that would go to corruption. It was Sec. Rolando Andaya himself who estimated that 20% of the pork barrel goes to corruption.

If that P500 billion budget is spread across three years, that means that for next year’s elections, GMA will have at least P33 billion in her campaign kitty. That still excludes budget items that are legally implemented for unabashedly campaign-related expenditures. Remember that during the 2004 elections, the government hired thousands of street sweepers who wore pro-GMA T-shirts. The government also funded GMA’s billboards along all the major high-ways across the country.

But a word of caution to those who are already salivating: even her supporters in Congress complain that she failed to deliver her promises last year. She also completely forgot that in the Senate, former Senate President Franklin Drilon now sits as the chair of the Senate Finance Committee, amking the next GAA yet another battle where President GMA is expected to be at the losing end again.

The biggest caveat is this: she may be able to bribe her way to 2010, but she certainly can’t buy a big majority of Filipinos.

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Entry filed under: GMA Impeachment, Philippines in Crisis, SONA.

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