The prevailing widespread call for action on the investigation of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or Pork Barrel Scam is supported by a group of concerned individuals who share common roots – trained and educated at the Philippine Military Academy.
This group simply refers to themselves as “concerned sons and daughters” of the said military academy. They released a manifesto condemning the rampant corruption in the use of the pork barrel.
The manifesto reads:
WE, concerned sons and daughters of the Philippine Military Academy, join the Filipino people in condemning in the strongest terms possible the systematic plunder of public funds via the pork barrel by some members of Congress and their accomplices.
WE are aghast, disgusted and enraged at such a wanton display of shamelessness by those who we elected to serve and protect the people. Rather than fulfill their sworn oaths, they unabashedly used their position to steal, deceive and enrich themselves at the expense of their fellowmen most of whom continue to suffer in utter poverty.
WE cannot and we will not tolerate this anymore even those from among our own.
WE demand that justice be served as true justice must.
WE demand that all the stolen funds be returned to the national coffers and that the guilty be meted their due punishment at the soonest possible time.
WE demand an immediate end to the immoral pork barrel system which has proven to be the root cause of corruption and will continually besmirch and compromise the commitment and dedication of the other honorable members of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Pork has lost its rationale. Those funds could have been used for better purposes and with clear accountability and control under the Executive branch.
WE trust that this government through the President who advocated good governance and the fight against corruption through the “Daang Matuwid” will fulfill what they had promised.
WE believe PNoy when he said then, “Kung walang kurap, walang mahirap” and in the saying that evil triumphs when good men do nothing. Thus, we band together with other Filipinos who are similarly infuriated in expressing freely our thoughts and call to end this grave injustice. Inaction or complacency is no longer an option.
And finally, WE pledge on our honor, in the memory of our fallen Cavaliers who gave their all and in the revered name of PMA that we will be vigilant on issues of corruption so as to give to the Filipino people, from whom we owe so much the privilege to have served this country and of what we have become, what they truly deserve.
To these, with the help of GOD and with COURAGE, INTEGRITY and LOYALTY.”
-end of manifesto-
The signatories of the manifesto are no longer active in military and police service and are practicing or retired professionals in various fields. They avoid being called alumni of PMA because they are not representing the PMA Alumni Association, Inc. Not all of signatories and supporters of the manifesto are graduates of PMA.
One of the signatories is the Editor-in-Chief of SecurityMatters who is a member of the Makatao Class of 1989. Ace Esmeralda, a former army officer who spent all his service years in Mindanao, emphasized that he is not representing his class or any of his classmates who are still in active service. He hinted that the other signatories share the same sentiments that are founded in the Academy’s motto of Courage, Integrity, and Loyalty.
Harle Llave, member of PMA Class 1979, stressed that there is no designated leaders. No hidden agenda. They just want to express and push for that they have stated in the manifesto. He claimed that there are thousands more who failed to sign the manifesto but vehemently supported it.
Esmeralda and Llave highlighted that they are not just focusing on the PDAF but on all abused sources of peoples’ money at all levels. Both mentioned that even the Internal Revenue Fund and the Malampaya Fund are politicians’ pork barrels.
According to the report of the Commission on Audit, only 10 to 20 percent of P6.156 billion of pork barrel fund was used in actual development projects while the rest went to overpricing and “ghost” purchases.
The P10-billion Pork Barrel Scam, which was linked to several government officials, was reported to have its roots in the procurement of vital military equipment. Such equipment included protective vests and helmets for soldiers that were paid with funds but were never delivered.