Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Update on Philippine Pork Barrel Spending

Last Friday, I posted about the pork barrel allocations that each Philippine Senator and Representative has, which I called ‘an invitation to corruption’. I also speculated about how congress members could funnel much of the money to their own pockets – use the money for construction projects performed by a family company.

Well, I’m right about the corruption, but wrong about how they do it. The Philippine Inquirer has a four-part series about a scam involving five senators and twenty-three representatives (that’s more than a fifth of the Senate and about a twelfth of the House).

Links to the four parts are here. The full details are interesting, but I’ll summarize how they (allegedly) did it, because it’s very, very simple.

They worked through an outside facilitator, Janet Lim Napoles, who set up a bunch of phony NGOs, each of them headed by her employees (most of whom seem to be relatives). The NGOs collected from the politicians’ pork barrels and then the profits (after various other officials were paid off to say the work was done) were split between the politicians and the facilitator.

Cool, huh? The total amount involved is (allegedly) ten billion pesos (about $250mil).

Prediction: The whole thing will the swept under the rug, maybe a couple scapegoats will take the fall, and then everything will go on as before.

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