ANTIPOLO City, Sept. 18, 2013—Aside from public disgust over billions lost to questionable dealings, the pork barrel rallies are also a collective cry for true leadership through service, a priest said.  

“It’s simply telling our leaders, you’ve got to come back to what is fundamental to leadership which is service, none other than service. It cannot be about money, it cannot be about ambition,” said Fr. Eugene Cañete, MJ during a mass celebrated for the Pious Disciple of Divine Master (PDDM) congregation yesterday morning. 

Leadership divorced from integrity 

According to Fr. Cañete, who has been to the three major mobilizations calling for the abolition of the pork barrel system, the problem of Philippine politics is that leadership has been divorced from integrity, resulting in power that, more often than not, is gained at the expense of the poor. 

A person of authority’s dignity is more closely linked to his personal integrity, he said, than to his manner of dress. 

Truly dignified leaders, he explained, do not just dress well for important occasions like the State of the National Address (SONA) for example, but are people totally committed to serve. 

“Integrity is one’s wholehearted commitment, one’s wholehearted response to the office,” Cañete added. 

Two examples of breaking the law 

He was also quick to note the potential impact of having the pork barrel system abolished. 

If we succeed in eliminating the pork barrel for senators and congressmen, very few people will run for office because they won’t get anything anymore,” Cañete said. 

Drawing on Jesus’ example in yesterday’s Gospel, where He brought a dead man back to life, Cañete talked about how Jesus’ leadership is essentially focused on serving. 

Unlike many politicians who willingly circumvent the law to serve themselves, Jesus broke observance of Mosaic law, which prohibited the touching of the dead, to bring a person back to life. 

“Jesus’ power to heal is really to bring about the total transformation in the one who needs healing, not by politics or by other motivations,” Cañete said. 

The next major rally against the pork barrel system will be held in Rizal Park on September 21, the anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law. [Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz]