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RIGHTLY appalled by what they take to be the unjust use of public funds through the ‘pork-barrel’ system, some citizens have taken the step the Constitution allows of legislating anti-pork-barrel measures through people’s initiative.
All measures our citizens take, provided these are moral, peaceful and lawful, aimed at curbing corruption and the irresponsible use of public funds have our full support. In fact, many of the members of our clergy and our lay leaders are at the forefront of these initiatives.
Since it seems that despite the wide-spread perception that ‘pork-barrel funds’ have occasioned unconscionable irresponsibility on the part of those who had access to them and a definitive ruling by the Supreme Court that such funds are unconstitutional, we have been informed of attempts to perpetuate the system through the appropriation of lump sums in the national budget under various pretexts.
We therefore fully endorse the people’s initiative aimed at legislating the proscription of funds made available to officials and subject to their discretion alone. We likewise look with displeasure at the practice of classifying as ‘intelligence funds’ — and therefore beyond the scope of audit and accountability — sizable amounts of public money.
“You cannot serve both God and money.” We choose to serve God and we cannot countenance the idolization of money, especially when it takes the form of unfettered access to the money of the people.
August 8, 2014
+ SOCRATES VILLEGAS
Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan