4 million Filipinos in US continue protest vs pork barrel scam

September 27, 2013 9:59 am 

By Ben Cal

MANILA, Sept. 26 (PNA) -– Some four million Filipinos in the United States have stepped up their protests against the pork barrel scam, according to the Migrant Heritage Commission (MHC).

In an e-mail to the Philippines News Agency Thursday, Grace Valera, MHC co-director, said the protesters are demanding an end to what the dubbed as “institutional corruption” through the misuse of the pork barrel or the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocated to members of Congress.

Valera said the US-based Filipinos are calling for the prosecution of those “who have been linked to the massive pork barrel scam.”

Simultaneous rallies in major U.S. cities were held last Sept. 20 “by the U.S. Pinoys for Good Governance (USP4GG) to coincide with the observance in the Philippines of the anniversary of the declaration of martial law by the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos,” she said.

According to Valera USP4GG spokesman Ted Laguatan said the protesters urged President Benigno S.Aquino III to exercise strong moral leadership by immediately abolishing the graft-ridden pork barrel system.

Rallies were held in front of the Philippine embassy in Washington DC and in front of consulates in New York and Los Angeles.

A similar protest rally was also held in San Francisco where there are big concentrations of Filipinos.

Valera quoted Eric Lachica, USP4GG coordinator in Washington, said FilAms and Filipinos around the world are scandalized and outraged by what he called the massive loss of taxpayers’ money due to corruption.

“We demand the prosecution of corrupt politicians who received kickbacks and their cohorts,” Lachica said.

Lachica and Laguatan also stressed that those found guilty of corruption must be punished with maximum penalties.

He said U.S.-based Pinoys, in solidarity with their Philippine compatriots, fully support Aquino in the “difficult task of ridding the country of the terrible culture of institutional corruption.”

Laguatan said the prevailing sentiment among FilAms is for the authorities to throw the corrupt politicians and public officials in jail to send a very strong message that corruption will no longer be tolerated.

Laguatan explained that they chose to hold the rallies on the anniversary of the martial law declaration to dramatize the urgency for reforms and the need for decisive action by the Aquino administration.

“Sept. 21, 1972 is one of the darkest days in Philippine history. It was on this day in 1972 that martial law was declared in the Philippines by the late oppressive and greedy dictator Ferdinand Marcos,” Laguatan said.

He asked the Filipino people “to be ever vigilant in the continuous effort to keep government clean and honest. Otherwise, history could repeat itself and dark powers might again enslave our people and bring tyranny upon the land.” (PNA)

DSP/RBC/RSM

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