It was here at the Capitol Hill that literal slobs of pork in barrel containers were said to have been dished out during the pre-Civil War days when congressmen wanted to bring home something to their constituents after working/visiting the White House, Capitol and other government offices in Washington.
There were still no refrigerators then, salted pork where stashed in barrels for US congressmen to deliver to their respective states. Since pork was the cheapest of meats, the pork barrel was deemed an inexpensive way to satisfy constituents.
Other historians trace it to the pre-Civil War practice of periodically distributing salt pork barrels to the clamoring slaves.
The pork barrel funds was believed to have been institutionalized by the 1870s when historians found US congressmen regularly mouthing buzzwords such as “pork-barreling” and “pork barrel politics.”
Time has not changed much and pork barrel is still being discussed in the White House, Capitol Hill (home of the US Senate and Congress) and other departments of government. Lobbying for it and against it continues to go on in Washington DC amid clamoring for its abolition from time to time.
So much just like home.
Visiting this stately government complex early this month, I wondered whether fugitive pork barrel operative Janet Lim Napoles had visited this place and what would have happened if she had imparted her “expertise” to US congressmen?
You see, while the US invented pork barrel, the ever creative and inventive Filipino politicians and their operators seem to have elevated the stealing of pork barrel funds to an art form.
While US politicians continue to haggle over who gets the biggest share of the pork barrel funds and the commissions thereof, here you have politicians and aided by the likes of Napoles making the pork barrel funds disappear into thin air! P10 billion gone dust, poof! Just like magic!
Truly Wow Philippines!
See you in Luneta or any anti-pork barrel protest sites on August 26.
Thank you for reading.