Press Release
February 1, 2011


The office of the Ombudsman recently dismissed the case filed by Ilocos Sur Governor Luis Chavit Singson against Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, in connection with the latter's privilege speech naming Singson as one of the jueteng lords of Luzon.

This was the second time that the Ombudsman dismissed a case filed against Santiago over a privilege speech that she delivered in the Senate.

The first time was in the case of Alimuddin v. Defensor Santiago, which followed on the heels of her privilege speech against the brothers Ronaldo and Rodolfo Puno in connection with the alleged corruption in the DILG and the use of the road user's tax.

In both cases, the Ombudsman upheld the parliamentary immunity of a senator, as provided by the Constitution.

Observers said that the Ombudsman's dismissal of the two cases against Santiago is a precursor of a probable dismissal of the case filed in the Ombudsman by Angelo Reyes against Sen. Jinggoy Estrada.

In the most recent order released a few days ago, the Ombudsman ruled: "Senator Santiago is a member of the Senate and is thus beyond the disciplinary authority of the office of the Ombudsman."

In addition to applying the rule of parliamentary immunity, the Ombudsman also said: "A deeper evaluation of the complaint shows that the same should be dismissed outright for want of palpable merit."

It is noteworthy that Bonifacio Alentajan, counsel of Angelo Reyes, was also the lawyer for the complainants in the two cases against Santiago dismissed by the Ombudsman for lack of evidence.

Lawyer Alentajan is reportedly facing at least three disbarment complaints in the Supreme Court:

The first disbarment complaint against Alentajan was filed by the Presidential Task Force in connection with Alentajan's alleged misconduct as lawyer for a Chinese who is allegedly a big-time diamond smuggler.

The second disbarment case was filed by a certain Atty. Emmanuel Tansingco.

Alentajan was also officially implicated for unethical conduct in Donton v. Tansingco, a separate disbarment case decided by the Supreme Court in 2006.

The third disbarment case against Alentajan now pending in the Supreme Court, Second Division, headed by Justice Antonio T. Carpio, was filed by supporters of Defensor Santiago, after Alentajan lost all his cases against her in the Ombudsman, the Comelec, and even in the Supreme Court.

The order of dismissal in the case of Singson v. Defensor Santiago was submitted on 15 October 2010 by graft investigating officer Altesa Anioso, and was approved by Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez on 29 December 2010, but was released only a few days ago.

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