Monsi shuns ‘epal’ PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 18 February 2013 11:51

“When elected as congressman of the 1st district, I shall not use government projects nor resources with my name on it as if it were my own.’

With this statement, servant-leader Monsi dela Cruz yesterday declared his support to a bill proposing penalties for politicians who habitually plaster their names and faces on government projects funded with taxpayers’ money

The “anti-epal” bill is pending in Senate.

Monsi said it is a matter of delicadeza for politicians to refrain from putting their names and faces on government projects because the money spent for the projects are not theirs, but people’s money.

He said there is no need to advertize a public servant’s accomplishments because the people know who are doing their jobs who are not.

“It is in fact unethical to put one’s name and face on government projects because it is obviously advertizing one’s image. It is ‘epal’ indeed...” he said.
Monsi said those elected into office are supposed to be real servants of the people and public office is not for personal interest.

“If elected, my salary would be used for the needs and scholarships of our poor people. With the guidance of the wisdom and grace of the Almighty and support of our dear people, I hope to serve my district with honor and dignity,” said the servant-leader.

The Senate’s Committee Report 443 prohibits the “practice of affixing name, initials, logo, or image of a public official to a signage announcing a proposed, ongoing or completed public works projects, as well as installing signage announcing the maintenance, rehabilitation, construction of public works crediting individual public officer, bearing his or her image.”

The report consolidates separate bills filed by Sens. Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Francis Escudero.

The term “epal” is street lingo for a credit-grabber. In this case, it refers to a politician who claims a government project would not have materialized had it not been for his personal efforts or, worse, his personal funds.

“This measure was (triggered by) the prevalent unethical practice among our public officials who affix their names and/or pictures to projects funded or facilitated through their office, despite the fact that these were funded using the taxpayers’ money,” said Senator  Antonio Trillanes said.

Trillanes explained that the practice of heralding a government project while giving a politician unnecessary credit “in a way promotes corruption among our officials and projects a wrong sense of accomplishment among the constituency.”