Sunday, September 29, 2013

Thoughts on Pork

Greed is the real dirt.

The Creative Ideal is this -
to know truth, and apply it -
to love thy neighbor, and do it -
to know the Word, and live it.

The story of Pork is all about personal accountability to a very public responsibility. Take note, personal and not political accountability is the central theme of the issue.

(Political accountability takes into consideration the good of the Party as a lens to perceive what good there is but personal accountability regards its ethics directly as truth before God and the Nation/s.)

In my opinion, the allotment of Pork enables in the government, a certain degree of responsiveness to any unexpected but necessary shifts or shortfalls as regards material demands (take note, demands not needs - needs can be planned but demands are determined not by any plan but by their outcomes, good or bad) being claimed by the national community as urgent - in real time - in the context of the Republic Vision.

Simply put, in its own context, Pork is a means to deliver a timely and specified response.

These material demands are usually sorted out by their urgency and entrusted to the better judgment of those persons to whom the Pork is yearly entrusted.

And presupposes a fundamental grounding in personal integrity, honesty, and simple human decency (which means a modicum of wisdom generously mixed in with a sense of professionalism that is earned on the job).

Pork therefore, is not political. It is necessarily consumed to make equitable adjustments on the fly in order to make better sense of the greater Economic Vision of its present administration (or any of its major points of consideration) and allows government to keep a certain degree of monetary flexibility in order to serve the public good as it unfolds in reality.

Because budgets are usually prepared in advance of what is to come... that's where Pork comes in.

Pork is a good thing for as long as it is kept away from politics. The Economic Vision of the Republic and its Political Vision are two distinct things that though they constantly produce and re-produce each other and give each other purpose and meaning are like two parallel lines that never meets - they only agree on a direction to take.

The issue we have about Pork now is because the presuppositions that were supposed to preclude this issue we're now having have been either ignored, taken for granted, or basically subverted so that only the external appearances of these things remain. Pork has become political.

When one is entrusted with the welfare of another, it is not entrusted to one because one is a politician - it is entrusted to one because there is realistically expected from within the Nation to be a multitude of these requirements to respond to - with urgent and unexpected requests (that can not be anticipated in formal planning) cropping up from the people everywhere. (This reminds me of the discretionary funds of senior commanders in the military - they serve the same purpose - but this one however, is in support of the mission entrusted to the AFP.)

Plans are good until it meets with reality - to be real, we have to plan to also not have a plan.

Again, let me say that Pork is not political. It is not intended to win political victories but hasten the triumph of economic ones - all in the name of the one Filipino people. Public funds shall always be, no matter who disburses it, public funds.

A servant of the people should find it joyous to be able to so freely and so generously uplift one's poorer compatriots - within or without one's constituency - and be constantly rejuvenated in his or her politics in this way without mixing the two.

After all, politics in its simplest form is the art of accommodating human hope; it is the science of government the expression of which is an art not a science - and fulfills itself when these hopes are realized in reality of the Nation - the noblest good (particular, common, and absolute) of which is the highest expression of our politics. It is basically a dialogue with reality wherein we speak to the Truth about our dreams together.

There are no bad politicians, there are only those who are not versed in politics - as a calling to serve the Nation. Certainly, there is no such thing as dirty politics only pretenders who use empty words and dirty, below the belt tricks (unbecoming of our citizenship together) to thwart (for the very narrowest of reasons) the vital dialogue that we as a free people upon this world must constantly dare undertake to have with ourselves as a Republic and with God as a Nation.

Hence, to return us again to the topic of Pork - public funds shall always be, no matter who disburses it, public funds.

The Filipino public - who are wiser than we give ourselves credit for (after all, we have been a Nation many centuries longer than we have been a Republic) will recognize virtue, for as long as that person and his or her politics remains true to the people, and consequently shall become convinced that the politics of that person is just - and this will most certainly redound to the political good of that person who shall gain more political capital to spend - moving in the same direction as the Economic Vision of the State - without violating it.

The problem with this is that when the internal supports of just about anything under the sun are ignored, taken for granted, or undermined, the entire structure itself becomes unstable.

So now it has all collapsed right before our eyes into one big heap.

The bigger problem is, we're under it - we, the people, especially those of us who still need a clue - suffer in the rubble. Who caused it?

Actually, let us rewind a bit. Because truth be told, the structure of Pork has not yet collapsed.

It has just been recently declared condemned. It was indeed deemed unsound by fear of those who are most in danger of its collapse i.e. we, the Filipino Nation - across all our generations - past, present, and forever - along with those who have chosen to represent us in the government of the Republic State who likewise fear they are the cause of all this fright, legitimately or illegitimately.

I sympathize with some our politicians who genuinely think they have done no evil who after realizing that they have - mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa - repent of it and return, humbled and fortified, to their loyal service to the Nation. Who among us is perfect anyway? Politics doesn't make one perfect, it doesn't even make one powerful (unless it is aligned with the authority of the Responsible State) - but it always makes one responsible. Perhaps, a little bit more so than the average Juan dela Cruz.

Because the first problem with Pork is that it - mayhaps - have become a thing misunderstood. This is the first and the only presupposition to the Pork Barrel Scam that I shall take.

This means I sympathize with those politicians who think they are being tried by publicity.

They deserve a fair shake and the due processes of our Republic likewise deserve a decent go at them and without the undue duress of having to witness their political life being torn to shreds before the bar of public opinion.

After all, it takes work and effort to build one's political reputation and any of our politicians, of any stripe, being citizens like ourselves, too deserve to be seen as innocent unless proven guilty.

The most popular (this is not necessarily to say that any quorum of our electorate approve of their politics but in the sense that people know them best as being famous) of our politicians are the most vulnerable in this particular regard - Senators Enrile, Estrada, and Revilla - for example.

Because for all it's salutary goodness - the bar of public opinion shall always be ruled by emotion more than reason and truth be told, the passion of the people can not always be trusted - just look at opinion polls and how they can be manipulated by external forces (i.e. from the way questions are framed to just plain lack of context of the subject matter being assessed to outright maliciousness).

I'm not saying opinion polls are useless - they are, according to the value of the work that is put into them, a good way to get a general feel on things but do not (and should not) by any means constitute the final word on anybody's political belief. Because they are imperfect.

One has got to be able to make up his or her own mind about things that matter - and believe in one's own politics; in a vision of the national success, however different or difficult or small it may be, that is agreeable to thy own good sense of common humanity and civic righteousness. And in the midst of the maelstrom of public opinions be able to express this view as well as amend it where necessary without deviating from it.

But not all of us are like this, my brothers and sisters of the Promise, some of us are kept by the virtue of others, while some of us are the keepers of others' vulnerabilities - (and all of us, each according to the development of our freedoms, kept by God) - sufficiency through reliance.

It's this vulnerability that makes us officially elect representatives to stand in our collective place in two of the three great Republic forums - Executive and Legislative.

The Judiciary is not for us to elect. For our Judges and Justices do not represent us as an Electorate. They are, in their Courts of Law and in their Chambers Judiciary, the ultimate recourse of our common grievances as human beings and citizens to each other - there, where all else fails - is represented the Ideal of our Justice which we can not elect for it has always been there even before we were a people.

To our Executive is entrusted, the Republic Vision, to carry our hopes through. To our Legislative, the Law of our Nation, to make safe our way ahead. Our Juridical system exists to make our Justice more perfect, to more intimately bind for our national consciousness, both heaven and earth - and preserve for the life of our generations both the order of their times and their own forbearance in time.

This is why we are a representative democracy - because reason is always more important than emotion and the passion of the public needs strong hands to rein it in - and channel it into a unity and strength to overcome what presently needs overcoming so that the common good (perceived only at a distance with the heart) may always prevail.

The former (the public) will find their focus and get angry, the latter (our politicians) will scatter and play for time to regroup. But of the latter who genuinely serve those who are angry - they will channel this into focus to help guide and create needed change for all - these are our lions and lionesses and God bless them always.

The first and most salutary recourse is, of course, to attend to the rebuilding of the internal supports.

But then again - because of our personal commitments to sacred remembrances, there may be those - and this only because of the monumental evil of the thing - 10 thousand million pesos heavy - who have so conditioned their personal freedoms to sink into the maddening depths so much that this feat would be like raising the Titanic.

They, by their existence alone - proven or unproven, would render this solution of solutions moot and the believers of it, by no fault of our own, be made to look incredibly stupid or naive or totally inane.

Until we are a Nation enlightened enough in our Liberty to be served by our Justice in a way that neither interferes with nor requires the application of Law nor its sanctions, scratch that for now. We will know when we become.

The second, and the opposite extreme of the first, is to go Halal or Kosher - evacuate everybody, as it were, from the condemned structure of Pork and just straight away demolish Pork and raze it's entire concept to the ground.

Pork however, has it's merits as I have beforehand opined. We should know to expect that our system is not dumb - let us not be a people conditioned to always assume inferiority - its main defect (and also its greatest safeguard) is its perfect reliance on human interface.

In short, our government to be effective relies on Pork and Pork to be effective relies on our government - the problem is government (the material side anyway) is always made up of imperfect persons.

Therefore, the effectiveness of this human interface as regards Pork with the government of the people depends genuinely on the sincere, knowing, and willing support of each other - personal accountability on behalf of the persons, and institutional transparency (constant audit readiness) on behalf of systems like Pork - each remaining separate conditions - the person for the effective dispersal of its intended effect - the Pork as an aid to the greater material prosperity (and individual happiness) of the Nation.

When system and person is confused and the person himself or herself ceases to be a part of a system and the system ceases to be separate from the person - as it is evident when government authority and persons serving in their capacity become mind melded (by alien Vulcan means, perhaps) into a single narcissistic entity, the proverbial iceberg and ship shall have now met with predictable results, of course.

Person and Office, Power and Authority, can never be one in their being - just as the Flag is not the People - one may only proceed from the other and also be served and survived by the other.

The benefits of Pork however, shall not - and should not - be sacrificed because there exists disloyal servants - in the Catholic sense, Peter should never be abandoned because there is a Judas.

Just because there is evil in our midst, doesn't mean everything and everyone else among us is evil - let us bear in mind that night always leads to morning and hurts to healing - and Pork to Lechon.

We must as a Nation always endeavor to survive, preserve, and prosper the good (particular, common, and absolute) especially during evil times by strengthening it, not by abandoning it.

Indeed, this holds true with the concept of Pork. And so we must endeavor to rationally understand the problem of Pork by recognizing Pork for what it is, both good and bad.

And also we must also remember to address the problem without creating a self-defeating bureaucracy around it, as Republics sheltering truly democratic societies are naturally wont to do.

Perhaps this is because of the law of human gravity that inclines both humans and human constructs to unconsciously choose the path of least resistance. But certainly this happens when freedoms sleep and Liberty is complacent - democracy becomes an easy thing to hopelessly complicate.

More often than not, the solutions to problems that involve the subject of personal freedoms are always reached - and adequately so - by a process of subtraction not by addition.

Pork must be simplified (not in its totality removed or made even more complicated).

So we come to the third solution: We can frame it all in the Christian sense of eating Pork - it must be made to go the shortest distance from hand to mouth - by a responsible hand - and a willing mouth - all of whom are accountable to a hungry stomach which the mind can always verify by an internal audit of one's state of hungriness.

And it must be done in the right spirit - so that the Christian soul, or in this case, the very human Soul of our national community within our Republic whole, can proceed to continually function to work to fulfill its vital raison d'etre.

What of the bacon that was already taken from us?

We will consider it officially sold - at a price determined by the Justice of our Courts, each in their due deliberations on our good behalf and collect the payment in terms of reparation in trust misplaced and time lost - with profit - written qualitatively in sums of pesos and quantitatively in length of prison time - in big, bold amounts and even larger span of years.

We have to let Law form and inform our Courts of Justice in its Chambers and let it take its due course in the Soul of our Nation that truth may prevail to serve our people.

And we will learn from this evil to defeat and preclude the next one.

Because, you are - whoever you are - the weakest link, good bye! Game over.

What I would like to personally ask of everybody involved in this is to place our Nationhood first before everything and all throughout this issue keep ourselves honest, decent, patient, and compassionate in our care for each other's being and welfare - as citizens to each other.

For whether one has done wrong or not - the point is, that there is no "I" in "We" (the I, in the absolutest sense, is an attribute that only God can assume upon Himself - God is the great I AM).

You can be sure this Truth shall outlast...

Let us pray that this issue along with the Zamboanga one makes us stronger not weaker, better not less, and therefore, a people more determined to more faithfully and more fully recognize, receive and profess the nationhood in each ourselves... and work the work of being human beings and citizens to each other, a little more joyfully this time perhaps...

So let us be humbled by His Providence and always consider the, "we" - in our nationhood - that we may together individually prevail in the labor of bettering our Republic in its task of prevailing - for the all of us (the "we forever").

Mabuhay po tayong lahat.

Thank You, LORD God, for the labor of the Earth, honest work that brings the light of virtue to the life of our world and value to the dignity of Man.