Politics in the Philippines is unique in a lot of regrettable ways. For one, it is extremely personal—dynastic even. Powerful clans dominate both local and national levels of government. It is a network of compadres, of friends and families, who mastermind grand schemes and plots towards enrichment and self-aggrandizement. Obviously, this kind of personal and clannish politics concerned mostly in itself tends to be the most corrupt.
And so it comes across as no surprise that the Philippines is one of the most corrupt nations in Asia. This is an embarrassment of riches, but the many scandals such as the NBN-ZTE scandal, fertilizer scam, and many more that have happened in the past decade are proof as to how ugly and perverted Philippine politics has become. Just recently, yet another incident has been added to this ever-growing list of political scandals: the PDAF or pork barrel scam scandal.
The pork barrel scandal is arguably the biggest and most publicized political scandal the Philippines has ever seen. This is not surprising. Given how mind-boggling big the money involved was and how it includes names of more than half of the Senate and Congress, the PDAF invoking the fury of basically every Filipino earning an honest living is an expected reaction.
The pork barrel scam is the brainchild of Janet Lim Napoles, a 50-year old housewife from Biñan. Although by no means the only personality involved in this travesty, Napoles was the only one proverbially caught (with the help of her cousin, Benjur Luy) doing the act. Napoles, by means of a magic trick nothing short of amazing, managed to steal literally billions of pesos from the people. As long as those in power continue seeing politics as a way of living, just as the likes of Napoles and some members of the Congress do, we do not expect to see an end to political jokes such as the PDAF scam.
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