Just days after the Supreme Court of the Philippines declared the senate’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) unconstitutional and weeks after the President had to issue an on-air speech defending the president’s Disbursement Allocation Program, Partylist group Bayan Muna is now bringing the spotlight to yet another possibly controversial fund – the Christmas Gift fund of Santa Claus.
“Think about it. Every Christmas, Santa Claus – the real “Tanda” – has enough resources to give gifts to every non-naughty kid in the Philippines AND the rest of the world. Who approves the purchases of this unelected official? Jesus?” Bayan Muna Partylist Representative Neri Colmenares said in a press conference organized in front of the iconic Manila C.O.D on Monday morning.
Colmenares further highlighted the lack of check and balance when approving which kid gets to be in the naughty list and which kid falls in the nice list. “We’re talking about systematically bribing future voters here. Partisan politics at its worst. The whole arrangement is prone to abuse, and quite frankly, could be used as “papogi” in case Tanda decides to run for any position in the 2016 national elections. We are not even talking about the possible unwarranted, extrajudicial surveillance on quite possibly all Filipino households that comes with the Christmas Gift fund. Everything about it violates the Constitution.”
During the event, Bayan Muna presented a 20-slide PowerPoint 2000 presentation complete with Santa Claus clipart and Christmas-themed wordart to stress the issue. Some protesters were wearing Santa hats and pork masks. The planned effigy burning Santa Claus and his Chief of Staff – Atty. Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer did not push through however, with some BAYAN members citing that they have already written in their letter wishes to Santa for that year and would rather not be included in the “Naughty” list.
Manuel Sikat, one of the Bayan Muna organizers commented they originally planned on staging the protest at the North Pole and not in Greenhills. “We tried to mount an expedition to get the message close, pero hindi talaga kinaya (we couldn’t do it). Too dangerous. We had to stop when three protesters died along the way and we only got as far as Marcos Highway. ”
San Juan resident and incumbent Senator Jinggoy Estrada was also present at the press con, who was later quoted as saying “Oo nga! Oo nga! Kitams?” repeatedly.
“This arrangement makes “Tanda” a very powerful man,” Colmenares said in closing, “And it has to stop.”
Santa Claus has not yet replied to the letters Agila News have written to comment on the issue, because really, when was the last time anybody saw a reply to a letter to Santa?
Bayan Muna first came into the limelight after exposing the Easter Bunny’s illegal unborn chicken trafficking activities last 2012.