Transcript of Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago's Interview9 September 2009
On her letter to the Ombudsman regarding the infomercials of cabinet officials
Pero September na ngayon, at meron pa ring naiiwan according to my staff. Meron pang apat pa (VP Noli de Castro, Sec.. Ronaldo Puno, Pagcor Chair Efraim Genuino, MMDA Chair Bayani Fernando). Yung iba, pinull-out na nila. Kaya ginampanan ko ang sinabi kong gagawin. Pinapaalala ko lang sa Ombudsman na kung maari magfile na ng kaso sa Sandiganbayan. Itong mga ito, dahil ang kasong kriminal diyan ay malversation of public funds, hindi nila ginamit ng maayos ang pera ng gobyerno, o inaamin na nila sa pamamagitan ng linya sa kanilang infomercials na “Paid for by friends of _____”. Kung paid for nga ba talaga ng kanilang friends, ibig sabihin tumanggap sila ng napakalaking pera sa kanilang mga kaibigan, at iyan ay bawal ayon sa Anti-Graft Act. Kung hindi man friends nila ang nagbayad kundi sila mismo at pinalitaw lamang nila na friends nila ang nagbayad, iyon ay kasalanan pa rin sa batas dahil ibig sabihin meron siyang unexplained wealth. Kaya kahit anong sabihin nila, wala silang depensa. Kaya tayo nagbigay ng palugit, baka hindi lang nila nalalaman. Huwag naman sana sila magmatigas nang ganoon dahil nakakahiya sa presidente at maiisip ng publiko na ang ating presidente ay sumasangayon sa mga cabinet members na ito. Hindi sila nagdudulot ng karangalan sa ating presidente kundi nagbibigay pa ng perwisyo.
On its implication of FVR’s group leaving the administration coalition
Naturally it makes the coalition of the administration weaker. To what extent it is weakened is the question. It is not really a question of parting from the administration coalition because all the time those two people have been working against the administration—they have said so in public. So it was completely expected, something that you can foresee. The question there is how weak the administration coalition now be because of the separation of these two. I can say that it has virtually zero effect on the full strength of the administration because the allies of the administration depend on the administration to put the force of its moral authority and the equity of its incumbency to help them during the campaign. During a campaign, it is not the personalities who are involved to determine where the candidate will affiliate himself, it is how much resources and how much more votes the party or coalition will be able to give to the candidate.
Laos na ba sina FVR?
Yes. In effect they are bargaining because they were bargaining and they have actually fulfilled their threat, but we shall see whether anyone will go with them or they are all alone crossing the sea and wandering around the desert. I think that that will happen. It will be biblical in proportion.
Is this a loss for President Arroyo?
Hindi naman, dahil noon pa they were taking potshots at her already. And when she caught them with their hands in the cookie jar, she gave their wrists a slap, and they pretend to be offended.. But the thing is, they were caught in the act. So I think that this is so much better because it clears the air.
On FVR supporting Sen. Aquino’s bid for the presidency
I don’t know if he has forgiven Tita Cory Aquino for marching in the streets against him when he tried to amend the Constitution so he could extend his stay in power. I was together with my ninang, Pres. Aquino, when she did that because I was also against charter change at that time, and I won the case in the Supreme Court which I myself argued. So I don’t know if he can get over that.
On Sen. Aquino’s decision to run as president
That is a foreseeable event. The question now is what will the surveys show. There are people willing to say hallelujahs every time there is a new leader in the horizon, hoping that they could get something out of it. The hallelujah chorus is always present in any presidential camp. But the issue will be how will Sen. Aquino fare in the next presidential elections. He has now confirmed that he is a presidentiable.. We shall now see, since the person he replaced placed only about number four in the recent surveys, whether he can exceed that number, and then we would see if it was right for Sen. Roxas to give way for Sen. Aquino. But if not, then the LP will be having a tough time in the presidential campaign.
On her advice to Sen. Noynoy Aquino
On the word war between former President Estrada and Sen. Lacson, with Sen. Lacson to deliver a privilege speech next week
You can bet that Sen. Jinggoy Estrada will certainly rise also on a question of privilege maybe the next day so that he will have enough time to rebut all the points. But I don’t know whether all of these are related to our basic function of legislation.