Press Release
December 10, 2010

Transcript of Sen. Santiago's interview

Is Ochoa not doing his job?

He's only executive secretary. He's not the gatekeeper of legal issues in the administration. That function is undertaken by the legal counsel or legal adviser of the president, or by the secretary of justice. But it looks to us that the secretary of justice is too engrossed with operational details. So that matter should be left by President Aquino to someone like former Supreme Court Justice Florentino Feliciano. He is not only globally recognized as an expert in international law but is also the leading constitutional expert in our country.

How will you describe Aquino's legal team?

His legal team is inadequate in legal education.

On Brother Armin Luistro

Brother Luistro is very much open minded. I was very worried about the position of the officials of the Catholic Church on reproductive health. Although I think we should all give him a chance. It looks to me that he is educable unlike some other cabinet members.

On Justice Corona's impeachment

Napakasamang precedent yan. First if you impeach the chief justice, or even just make an appeal, already you are denigrating the judiciary. You are trying to draw conclusion from what is a presumption of his critics. You presume that he is politically motivated. But motivation is mental. How can you possibly cull into his head and charge him with political motivation? Even if you raise that issue with objective lawyers, they will tell you that the issue is properly decided in the sense that although the basis is equal protection, nonetheless, the real basis there is the tripartite system of government.

You cannot allow the president to exercise legislative powers independently of the will of the legislative branch of government. All and any other agencies outside of the legislature have no legislative powers of their own. It always must be sourced from a major or any other law passed by the legislative branch of government. If you do that, one, you set a very bad example on how to get rid of an uncooperative or unsympathetic system. You will therefore be degrading the position of chief justice by equating him to ordinary politicians. Kasi ayaw natin ng politika niya, tanggalin natin. You cannot do that, you are violating the independence of the judiciary, which is a cardinal principle of our legal system.

Number two, those reported rumors are already contentious. Those who initiated or espoused those rumors have decided for themselves for political favor. You cannot make decisions particularly fatal to their nature without backing this up by statistics or by actual analysis.

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