Archive for the ‘Miriam Defensor Santiago’ Category

Name calling in the Senate

February 19, 2009

When Sen. Miriam D. Santiago resorts to name calling to make a point, most of us laugh. We’re tickled by the colorful but vile language that only a lawyer from UP with a peculiar sanity can deliver. And surprisingly, she is tolerated by her colleagues whom she disparagingly labels as “idiots.”

For all her self-proclaimed erudition, Santiago harbored frustration after being trashed in her bid to be a jurist in the International Court of justice (ICJ,) a position she actively campaigned for. The emotionally volatile lady senator dared the then Pres. Joseph Estrada who was a school drop-out for an IQ test match to push forward her mental superiority. Her bizarre mouth-blabbering cowed the people around her. She called members of the legislature as “fungus faced.” The lady threatened to jump from a plane only to say later she was just joking.

When party list representative Risa Hontiveros disagreed with Santiago against the court-like conduct of senate inquiries using “rules of evidence,” the gas bag allegedly referred to Hontiveros as a “menopausal insect who was out to get publicity and wanted to teach the senate.”

Such nasty words are unlikely to come from a supposedly educated lawmaker. That’s why people don’t think of her as reliable, sincere, and sane. Many squirm with shame at her vile comments which frustrate productive exchange of ideas. Instead of being direct on issues and coherrent in her thoughts, Santiago resorts to reckless talk which is unbecoming of a person in her position. =0=

Who bears the shame in the senate investigation of WB corruption scandal?

February 15, 2009

If it is true that World Bank (WB) has no proof against Jose Miguel Arroyo (husband of Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo) and others implicated in the rigging of WB-funded projects what next should the senate do? With the charges of corruption coming from no less than a foreign lending institution (whose reputation is undoubtedly better than the Philippine government,) Sen. Miriam D, Santiago must listen to what WB is trying to say: “If there is smoke, then there could be fire.”

Why then doesn’t she—the Senate Economic Affairs Committee chairman ascertain if the house is indeed on fire? Is Santiago trying to hide something? A known ally of Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo, is she trying to protect someone under her wings—perhaps Jose Miguel?

Instead of waging a “diplomatic protest,” an investigation is more productive to do. Besides, what is the country protesting for? The WB has already given away a favor. Aren’t the solons ashamed of being defensive? Instead of being shooting down the bad news, it’s more productive to ascertain the charges. There is no valid justification for a cover-up, a low-road exercise in dealing with this common problem.

The gutsy lady senator who is supposedly sane must not waste time. Her insistence that there is no evidence in the WB report (without investigating) distracts people from the vital issues of the controversy. As a government official, Miriam must be truthful. She must take the initiative of purging the country from corrupt practices—something which is doable if she follows the leads WB has so far disclosed.

Based on the bank report, it’s now the turn of the government to investigate and get to the bottom of the case. If the WB doesn’t have the evidence, this is the right time to seek and find. The public must not be misled into thinking that the rigging of contracts has not happened. It’s not at good idea to perpetuate the cynicism of the Filipinos, harass the WB, and pretend the country doesn’t need a lender.

Miriam has to do more digging. Whether there is corruption or not, the burden of proof lies in her turf. As chairman of the inquiry, she needs to bring the investigation to a credible conclusion to convince the world who is telling the truth, thereby freeing innocent people of the stigma of dishonesty.

Santiago’s high-handed display of power looks amateurish and blasé. It’s embarrassing the self-absorbed senator and her admirers wring the arms of foreign bank officials who care less if Filipinos are corrupt. She persistently waves around her intelligence—an ego-trip, a deluded peacock awareness of self, a condescending habit of demeaning people in public which are all counterproductive. To illustrate, here is her comments on Sen. Panfilo Lacson who correctly points out the lack of focus on the investigation:

“Di naman siya abugado, gusto niyang turuan ako. Di magandang ugali ‘yung tuturuan mo ang chairperson mo sa gagawin, lalo na kung wala ka namang background sa batas [He’s not even a lawyer and yet he wants to outsmart me. He’s not supposed to dictate to his chairperson on what to do, especially because he does not even have any background in law],” Santiago said.— (02/15/09, Dedace, S)

Obviously, it’s the whole town’s interest that Miriam’s bloated sense of erudition simmers below the fight against corruption. Regardless of the cost and the damage on the people involved, she must work (in spite of her misgivings for not being admitted in the International Court of Justice) to banish any suggestion of bias and defensiveness. Without this, shame on us Filipinos will continue to mount. =0=

RELATED BLOG: “World Bank opens a can of worms & Sen. Miriam D. Santiago investigates” Posted by mesiamd at 2/13/2009


World Bank opens a can of worms & Sen. Miriam D. Santiago investigates

February 13, 2009

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago is hotly agitated by the World Bank (WB) scandal. The corruption charges by the international lending body implicate Jose Miguel Arroyo, the palace’s “first gentleman” and husband of Pres. Gloria Arroyo. The accusations of unlawful transactions inflame the pompous side of the flighty woman-senator who acts like a straight and unbending arrow.

Santiago has displayed irritation over the non-appearance of WB representative Bert Hofman in the January 27, 2008 senate hearing in which he is expected to clarify the allegations against government officials, influence peddlers, and road contractors. With the characteristic loquacious bravado that the lady-lawmaker is known for, Santiago blared:

““Mr. Hofman must come here in person or else we will cite him for contempt. Let this cause trouble (between the WB and the Senate) that would even lead to the Supreme Court or even the International Court of Justice. This is good because we will be able to test who between the World Bank and the Filipinos are the kings here.” —-Philstar (02/13/09, Calica, A)

Sen. Santiago’s incendiary words don’t fail to befuddle observers who think her thunderous tirades are nothing but another episode of “entertainment” in the corruption-riddled government. She effectively distracts the public from the sordid corruption charge in the WB-funded projects which has been “institutionalized” for at least a decade. While she seems urgently intent to pursue truth and punish wrong-doers in her ranks, many believe all the fury will die down before anyone will ever be proven accountable. She focuses wrongly on the messenger of bad news—the WB, instead of the rapacious perpetrators of the crime.

From whichever angle people look at the Santiago, her demeanor is a source of both pride and dishonor. She poses as a feisty defender of truth ready to uphold the dignity of the nation, something rarely seen in the slow-mo senate. But there are those who question her truthfulness and motive. From past experience, it is unlikely her noisy declarations will ever amount to anything beyond the exercise of words. At a time when the world suspects how deeply the country is mired in dishonesty, Santiago won’t probably go farther than mere investigations.

Even as the controversy goes on, Finance secretary Margarito Teves is already banking on the WB to increase its lending to the Philippines to a tune of $1 billion for the next few years. Keeping a warlike stance (instead of being conciliatory) is distracting. Sen. Santiago brushes aside the reality that the foreign bank isn’t obligated to humor the Philippines so that it can enjoy the “honor” of granting loans to the country. As a government official representing the country, there are those who think she is rude and crude—a loose cannon who blames the foreign bank for its “incomplete” disclosure, effectively deflecting the issue from the real crime.

It is said the leads pointing to fraud in the WB-financed project biddings have been passed on to Filipino authorities as early as 2007, but it’s only now (after the lid of corruption was blown open) that they see the urgency of investigating. Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez has been criticized and threatened with dismissal for negligently sitting on the case.

The World Bank has already provided vital information to work on. Many wonder the aptness of the senate demanding more information from the foreign entity without the Philippines taking exhaustive effort to gather truth from its own backyard. As if to lamely cover up for glaring shortcomings and the embarrassments which go with incompetence and hypocrisy, Santiago’s blistering words have been set into play for the public to guess and digest. (Photo Credit:; ButchokoyD; Arenamontanus) =0=


"Chronic Fatigue Syndrome” and Sen. Miriam D. Santiago’s tiredness

February 6, 2009

I hope Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile was correct when he said that Sen. Miriam D. Santiago needed an indefinite leave from her legislative work because of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS.) I don’t know if what he meant coincided with what we know of the disease.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a nebulous medical condition with unknown cause whose manifestations run from physical to the psychological. As such CFS comes as a diagnosis only after careful and thorough health investigation which considers a plethora of possibilities—-hormonal problems (i.e. thyroid disease, diabetes,) chronic infections (TB, malaria,) exogenous drugs (substance abuse), malignancies, organ dysfunctions, nutritional, immunologic, and metabolic derangements (malnutrition, poisonings, autoimmune diseases) and psychiatric problems (bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia) among others.

CFS is a hard diagnosis to make because there are no specific tests or laboratory markers to pinpoint the ailment; many illnesses have fatigue as among their prominent symptoms and a good fraction of patients looks well. The manifestations of CFS vary in severity and its course is characterized by periods of remissions and exacerbations.

A CFS diagnosis should be considered in patients who present with six months or more of unexplained fatigue accompanied by other characteristic symptoms. These symptoms may include:

• cognitive dysfunction, including impaired memory or concentration
• malaise or exhaustion lasting > 24 hours after physical or mental exercise
• unrestful sleep
• joint pain without signs of inflammation
• persistent musculo-skeletal pain
• depression
• mood swings
• headaches
• tender cervical or axillary lymph nodes
• sore throat
• cardiac and respiratory symptoms

According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC) between 1 and 4 million Americans suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), an illness which presents with overrid ing tiredness. A fraction of patients are seriously impaired; at least a quarter are unemployed or on disability. About 50% of those affected come to their doctors and 40% of them have previously unrecognized medical or psychiatric condition.—Source: Center for Disease Control (CDC) at

What CDC tells us is just the tip of the iceberg. From the medical perspective, one can however surmise if Sen. Miriam D. Santiago really suffers from a serious disease. Is she really sick? Does she have CFS or is she plainly tired. Let her doctor investigate so she can be treated.

The flamboyant senator who is known for her “intelligence and tartness” just wrapped up her investigation on the scandalous World Bank (WB) allegations that top-ranked officials in government colluded in rigging of project deals by contractors. She must really be tired as the Filipinos— for nothing of great significance came out of a senate probe of this nature. The investigation only broke open the unhealing wounds of corruption that has left the country mired in shame. (Photo Credits: St.ChristopherLucky; diong) =0=


"If you are sexy, brilliant, and knowledgeable…,” Sen. Miriam D. Santiago talks on tormenting her enemies

November 9, 2008

After Philippine Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago lost her bid to be a jurist in the International Court of Justice (ICJ,) a position which she aspired for with gusto, she declared:

“When God closes a door, He opens another. I’m afraid that the door that has been opened for me is to remain in Philippine politics and continue to torment my enemies,” she said with a hearty laugh. Inquirer (11/09/08. Avendano, C)

The funny quip with some bone from the senator makes Filipinos wonder if Santiago is for real. For her, the ICJ loss is personally irritating as she criticized the manner of selection. Believing the aptness of her qualification which counts a UP law degree and crash “language fluency” course in French in her resume, she and her supporters actively campaigned for the position. In the past, she accused some of her enemies to have worked to derail her candidacy.

Showing the loose cannon ball in her tongue she said: “It’s nothing to them if you’re sexy, brilliant and knowledgeable,” referring to her unapologetic no-holds-barred assessment of her importance which the world body failed to appreciate.

Santiago is known for her shifting loyalties, changing party alliances, labile emotion, and flamboyant rhetoric. She changes plans so often and talks in a bewildering style that befuddle her listener.

Although tormenting enemies is not a desirable job, it appears she fits the position better than what she longed for in ICJ. She believes it is her “destiny” to stay in the country. Photo Credit:; Alkan Chaglar) =0=RELATED BLOG: See my blog on May 29, 2008 entitled

RELATED BLOGS: See my blog on May 29, 2008 entitled “Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s flight to reality and her bid to the International Court of Justice (ICJ)” ; “Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago loses bid in ICJ” Posted by mesiamd at 11/07/2008

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago loses bid in ICJ

November 7, 2008

After so much hype that Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago is Philippines’ bet to the International Court of Justice (ICJ,) it is reported that she isn’t selected to be part of the judicial body.

Observers have their own explanations, but the reasons behind her non-selection can only be guessed.

Certainly there are lessons to be learned about the flamboyant, often controversial senator-lawyer with volatile demeanor and assumed superlative intelligence. She bemuses her colleagues, entertain the public, and cow members of the local legislature.

Many of Santiago’s Filipino admirers who actively rooted for her are “saddened,” by the result, but they need to rethink what it takes to be in the ICJ, a world judicial body with its own political culture. (Photo Credit: =0=

RELATED BLOG: See my blog on May 29, 2008 entitled “Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s flight to reality and her bid to the International Court of Justice (ICJ)”

“Euro Generals” from Moscow and the “zarzuela” that awaits them in Manila

October 20, 2008

After being caught and held for illegal possession of travel money in Moscow, Russia, during the 77th Interpol Meeting in St. Petersburg, retired Gen. Eliseo de la Paz, his wife Maria Fe, and Philippine National Police (PNP) officers and their respective wives, are eagerly awaited to return home. They need to shed light to the humiliating detention they suffered stemming from the undeclared amount of P6.9 million (105,000 euros.) Airing the befuddled mind of the public, the Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago angrily declared:

I-subpoena decus tecum ko silang lahat. Ibigay nila ang mga papeles nila. Sino ang nag-authorize niyan? Ngayon kung hindi iyan duly authorized, saan nila kinuha ang pera? Saan nila kinuha ang pera para gumastos lahat ng asawa nila? Magkano ba mga sweldo nila?” Santiago told radio dzBB’s Nimfa Ravelo in an interview. GMANewsTV (10/19/08, See, AB)

The flamboyant Sen. Santiago, vice-chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, sounds funny again, but the truth of this incident rests on the questions she raises. It is a shame the PNP officers wear “service, honor & justice” on their badges not unlike the military pins of the disgraced Maj. Gen. Carlos F. Garcia who stole incredible amounts of money from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP.)

Some of de la Paz’ defenders are saying there is nothing irregular with bringing 105,000 euros as though it is OK to carry them without customs approval. They speak of “contingency funds” that make them look more suspicious. Where did they get that much money?

If justice works well in the Philippines and corruption isn’t as rampant, this case of illegally transporting huge money abroad has all the tell-tale signs of a crime(s). Ironically, they went to that interpol conference to learn more ways of upholding laws, not of violating them. (see my related blogs entitled “Truth, not only travel briefing, is the answer versus money laundering”(10/17/2008) and “Malabong paliwanag sa bayong-bayong na pera sa airport” (10/16/2008.)

But as usual, one wonders if investigations that probe the PNP officers will just be another side diversion—a dizzying “zarzuela,” displaying the corruptive influence of money on those tasked to serve the people. There surely will be layers of alibis, legalese, and lame defenses to dodge accountability. The kid-glove treatment of erring government men in power often mocks the sensibility of the public and painfully deepens the despair of the nation. That’s why many frustrated Filipinos are cynical with regards to the outcome of cases of this nature. (Photo Credits: Ignacio Guerra; =0=“

Signs of the times & the words we live by

August 1, 2008

Watching TV, listening to the radio and reading newspapers give us a sense of what’s going on in the country. Words used in the media correlate well with our level of optimism. They seem to function like internal barometers of our feelings, our reactions to the events that go our way, our outlook of the future.

The preponderance of negative words we meet daily goes well with the uncertainty and pessimism we feel today. Despite this however, hope still persists. We see sunshine in darkness. Better days are ahead of us. Here are twelve recurring terms in our media lexicon that’s worth thinking about:

Kaya Natin: refers to a new group of hardworking and ethical Filipinos who wants to promote real change and conscientious leadership in the country. Pampanga Gov. Eddie Panlilio, Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo, San Isidro, Nueva Ecija Mayor Sonia Lorenzo and Isabela Grace Padaca have pledged to lead the group launched in Ateneo de Manila University recently.

Wow, Philippines: the wonderful slogan that promotes the country as a tourist destination.

Swine Scam: another scandal; it refers to the P114.6 million in loan proceeds which allegedly went to individuals and groups, including Jose Nograles, brother of the House Speaker Prospero Nograles, in the form of miscellaneous fees which is being investigated by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.

Noodles Republic: the transformation of the country from a “strong republic” promised by Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo earlier in her term to a “noodles republic” which describes poor Filipinos who subsist on noodles for their meals because of high prices of food.

Suspicious Lines: the ignominious other name people use for Sulpicio Lines (SL,) that beleaguered ferry company noted for its frightening maritime record. SL carries a distinctive trail of mishaps, ship keels, and mass deaths that boggle the mind.

A Ticking Time Bomb: a laundry list of problems hounding the administration of Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo according to Pres. Fidel V. Ramos. It includes widespread poverty, high prices of groceries, the increasing gap between the rich and the poor, environmental degradation, corruption, red tape, broken electoral process, abuses of politicians, among others.

Double Dead Meat: meat from swine, dog, cow, chicken or fowl which died from a disease or accident, sold illegally without safety inspection, and passed to consumers as “fresh.”

Boom: a positive word to describe a boost in business, an increase in arrivals of tourist, a flood of OFW remittances, a bountiful harvest, a surge in the a catch of fish…to name a few.

Numskull: synonym for idiot and stupid that Sen. Miriam D. Santiago uses to refer to her colleagues in the legislature. The derogatory term draws a numb reaction from her opponents who seem cowed by her narcissistic verbosity and perceived superiority. Many see some truth in what she says. They say collectively, the intelligence, honesty, and competence of senators and congressmen is at an all-time low since Pres. Joseph Estrada ascended to power.

Double Courser: a term in education which refers to a student who previously finished a course to pursue another. It’s mostly seen in the nursing profession which attracts students with academic degrees in medicine, commerce, law, engineering, and education. A double course provides an avenue for Filipinos to qualify for jobs abroad—a double-edged sword that both alleviates and aggravates joblessness.

Corruption: the error-proof explanation of the deteriorated condition of the country. The World Bank disclosed that the country is last among East Asia’s 10 largest economies in curtailing this problem. It is estimated that the Philippines loses more than $2 billion a year to corruption.

Plunder: the ostentatious word for government thievery. High profile officials like Pres. Joseph Estrada had been accused of this crime, but they are either pardoned or left alone to continue their notoriety with greater rapacity and lack of shame. =0=

In A Male-Bashing Culture, The "idiots" And "numskulls" Are Still Worth Saving

June 23, 2008

In New York Post, on June 8, 2008, an article by Christine B. Whelan, a University of Iowa sociology assistant professor caught my attention. She wrote about the weakening of the male’s traditional role in American society, partly as an offshoot of the female liberation movement. Whelan touched on Kathleen Parker’s book: “Save the males: why men matter, why women should care.”

Two weeks later, I saw Parker talked about her witty insights in O’Reilly Factor at Fox News. Her social critique on the American male-bashing culture which deludes us into thinking that men are dull and short-witted was convincing. She said society’s put down on the male gender which has influenced our media and school, is part of the feminism’s collateral damage. This leads us to undervalue the role of fathers and mislead us to believe they’re unnecessary.

Far beyond the days when oppressed mothers fought hard to gain their right to vote, the feminist movement seeks to redefine the role of women in terms of gender equality. It covers issues like employment, reproductive rights, abortion, domestic violence, discrimination, same-sex marriage, divorce, maternity leave, and sexual harassment.

Though majority of the feminist movement’s agenda has led to the betterment of society, there are unintended adverse consequences. The goal of equality in some places has been exceeded, and men find themselves gradually waylaid in the curb, feeling less equal and less appreciated than before.

In America, feminism has resulted to some marginalization of the male. The normal rambunctious boys who have been stereotyped as loud and unfocused are taught to assume girlish roles which efface and deride the differences of the sexes.

With women’s success in the workplace, men’s role has been trivialized. The belief that the “father knows best,” is becoming a thing of the past. Seeing the male role as dispensable, women enter into same-sex marriages; they conceive children using sperm donors and raise families as single parents. These make men appear less important.

In the Philippines, the same male-bashing culture exists. We have a clever woman president in the person of Gloria M. Arroyo. We have a sluggish senate and ineffectual congress dominated by men whom Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago disparagingly calls “idiots and numskulls.”

Like Santiago, more of our women with higher education compete for positions high in the job ladder. Asserting their independence, Filipino women have bolted out of the house in huge numbers to seek jobs locally and abroad, leaving their husbands at home to care for the children.

How many times do we see Filipinas become the family breadwinners, their husbands assuming the roles of house-fathers? What could be the consequence of men not taking their responsibility at heart—acting like perpetual “little boys” who refuse to grow? When did we notice the emasculation of men in doing kitchen-work and laundry while our women read, think, and assume complex decision-making tasks? In rising numbers, why are the men, content to act as drivers, errand boys, and companions, ready to follow the female “commander” of the house?

Parker doesn’t only blame feminism for this attitudinal change and “role reversal.” She thinks there are adult males out there who remain immature, preferring to hang around with friends, refusing to work. Averse to take responsibility, these men indulge in idle talk, do leisurely text messaging, play cards, videos, or watch TV.

Yet Parker cautions this should not be. For without the strong male figure, the traditional provider and society’s pillar, our families are bound to suffer. There is a chasm in not having fathers in the household. That’s why she (as most of us do) believes men, the bulwark of the nation, are certainly worth saving. =0=

Heard From The Underbush

June 18, 2008

Gusto nilang maging commercial endorser, eh ang papangit naman nila, [They want to be commercial endorsers but they are so ugly],”

-Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago denounces politicians who endorse consumer products. She condemns this advertising as a form of early election campaign. PDI (06/17/08, Cabacungan, G.)

“We hope the government would undertake mitigating programs because there might be further rise in unemployment as a result of the rising power cost in the country.”

-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) spokesman Alex Aguilar reacting to the National Statistics Office (NSO) report which shows the rise of unemployment to 8% in April, 2008 from 7.4 of April last year. Philstar (06/18/08, Jaymalin, M)

I assure [students] that in 2009 we will prioritize this (the construction of more comfort rooms in public schools.)”

-DepEd Secretary Jesli Lapus tells the audience of a Manila morning show, “Umagang Kay Ganda.” how he’ll solve the problem of filthy toilets in public schools. According to the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (based on DepEd’s records,) 51 elementary pupils share one toilet bowl. In high school, it’s even worse — 102 students share one toilet bowl. ABS-CBN Online (06/17/08)

I appealed, I cajoled, I threatened by telephone…These people do not have an ideology. This is pure banditry.”

-Sen Loren Legarda says on her role in gaining the release of reporter Ces Drilon et al who were held hostage by Islamic militants in Mindanao. ABS-CBN Online/AFP (06/18/08.)

That will drain more our finances. Now at 20 percent, we are bothered financially,”

-Rustico Jimenez, M.D., president of the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines, saying that it is too much to increase senior citizen hospital discount from 20% to 30%. Inquirer (06/17/08, Alave, KL.)

Even if cases have been filed against some alleged perpetrators of summary executions, justice remains elusive and the possibility of getting genuine justice remains unsure. This is because forensic investigations of human rights violations are not done with due diligence, either because of unwillingness to do so, or because of incompetence to do good investigations,”

-Dr. Aurora Parong, Amnesty International (Philippine section director,) bewails the lack of justice in the Philippines. Manila Times (06/17/08, Apanay, IK.)