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By Oscar Franklin Tan
All purple-clad advocates defeated in the Supreme Court decision upholding the Reproductive Health Law are the most outrageous, most inane and most ideology-driven anti-RH arguments that have no place in rational debate, much less in our highest court of law.
You can look at it as Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s revenge, or as a new front in the war of attrition between the Aquino administration and Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, or as another chapter in the continuing saga of still-controversial Port Irene—but the reality is, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima’s green light to include alleged wrongdoing at the Cagayan Export Zone Authority in the Enrile probe is only logical and necessary.
Way back in 2011, Sen. Miriam Santiago gave us hope with her Senate Bill No. 1967 proposing to put the kibosh on the most shameless habit of politicians: taking personal and undeserved credit for projects wholly funded by tax money. This was the “anti-epal” bill, a word play on “mapapel”—meaning role- or scene-stealer, credit-grabber or garapal! But last we checked, nothing has happened—zero, zilch, nada! After all the sound and fury, she seemed to have totally forgotten about it. The people continue to suffer in silence in the face of the unending test to their patience and insult to their intelligence.
Is the Disbursement Acceleration Program constitutional? Legal hotshots such as former senator Joker Arroyo, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, and former Constitutional Commission member Joaquin Bernas, SJ, have all thundered forth against it. In their view, by pooling supposed savings from government agencies and realigning these to other projects and programs, Malacañang through its budget secretary is, in effect, bypassing the General Appropriations Act. Since the power of the purse is vested solely in Congress, juggling funds from one GAA-approved agency or project to something else that may not have the same budget authorization undermines that power, and allows Malacañang to usurp a function not granted it by the Constitution.
Alfred McCoy’s classic description of Philippine politics—as “an anarchy of families”—was coined in the early 1990s, but two decades later it’s even more apt and true. The results of the 2013 midterm polls have only confirmed that, while guns, goons and gold continue to play a huge part in how this country elects its leaders, a fourth element—bloodline—has the strongest grip of all on the system.
I cannot agree enough with what Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago said in her speech before students of Far Eastern University (Inquirer, 11/24/12): “Those who are not educated for voting” are choosing from those who are “not educated for serving,” hence, the need for a constitutional provision setting higher academic requirements for voters and candidates in both local and national elections.
By Randy David
In a speech at Far Eastern University last November 22, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago mocked the nation’s political system, in which she has played a prominent role, as one dominated by the ignorant. “Let me summarize the problem with Philippine elections,” she told her young audience. “Of the 50 million voters who will troop to the polls in May next year, the greater majority are not intelligent, they are not educated for voting, and the candidates they choose are not educated for serving.”
On behalf of the Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines, I would like to tell Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago that her use of the word “mongoloid” to describe members of Congress was very unbecoming for a statesperson.
The Senate impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona has turned into an entertainment event, with Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago doing her award-winning antics, and the other senators just smiling and laughing at the comments of their colleagues. Lacking is a spirit of seriousness and sense of urgency, especially among the senators, to bring out the truth so that an impartial decision could be made. The future of this country is hanging on the edge and the senators don’t seem to care.
This refers to the Letters to the Editor section of the Inquirer last March 7, particularly two letters from your readers attacking Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago.
The Senate impeachment court is right in punishing private prosecution lawyer Vitaliano Aguirre for contempt of court. However, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s verbal abuse of the prosecution panel, calling them “gago!” is utterly despicable. What arrogance of power—wha…ng-wha…ng protected by immunity!
Being a father of a child with autism, I am eternally grateful to Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago for championing the cause of special children. The bills she authored, Senate Bill No. 1946 (Autism Prevention, Early Detection, Diagnosis and Treatment Act of 2007) and Senate Bill No. 2020 (Special Education Act of 2008), provide hope for countless [...]