Press Release
November 7, 2006


Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, who has been nominated for Supreme Court Chief Justice, said that if recommended and appointed, she will assume office, only after the Supreme Court has decided the charter change issue.

I dont want to cause embarrassment to President Arroyo by participating in the court deliberations on the charter change issue, which will certainly be brought before the Supreme Court. If I vote in favor of charter change, that might provoke a storm of controversy because of my political association with the appointing power, Santiago said.

The senator said she was unable to talk to President Arroyo at the meeting of the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) yesterday (Tuesday), for lack of time.

The President went into overtime at another prior meeting and was about half an hour late opening the LEDAC meeting. So there was no chance for a talk before the meeting, Santiago said. The senator said that after President Arroyo momentarily left the room, Santiago , Sen. Flavier, and Sen. Pangilinan also left, to prepare for the afternoon Senate session.

Although cha-cha was not on the LEDAC agenda, a spirited and lengthy debate ensued after the President called on Rep. Constantino Jaraula to report on the status of the Senate-House talks on cha-cha. It was evident that there are manifold and strongly held views among the Presidents allies. In any event, my view is that this political issue will eventually morph into a judicial issue, Santiago said.

Santiago , a constitutional law expert, said she declined to participate in the LEDAC cha-cha debate, because the only agency worth persuading is the Supreme Court, which will have the final say.

There was no sense in proselytizing among the converted, Santiago said.

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