Press Release
September 17, 2012


Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago said that she will be absent this week, to show that she resents the snub shown to her during her committee hearing over Rico Puno last Friday.

"Tit for tat. If they snub my hearing, I will snub their session," Santiago said.

Santiago said she would check whether the Committee on Appointments at its hearing this coming Wednesday is scheduled to pass upon the nomination of Sec. Mar Roxas as the new DILG secretary.

"If a cabinet member who snubs my hearing is presented for confirmation this Wednesday, I will attend the confirmation hearing to cast a veto, to fulfill my promise that I shall veto all cabinet members who were invited, but snubbed me," she said.

Santiago said it was obvious that there was a conspiracy between the cabinet and certain senators, because in the excuse letter sent by Exec. Sec. Paquito Ochoa, he raised exactly the same questions raised by certain senators about the legality of Santiago's committee hearing.

"The Malacañang letter raises the issue of a lack of resolution passed by the plenary session. This is exactly the same issue raised by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Sen. Panfilo Lacson. I have already pointed out, for their education, that several provisions in the Senate Rules and the Senate rules concerning inquiries in aid of legislation strongly imply that there is no need for a formal resolution, if the committee has competent jurisdiction," she said. Santiago said that her committee has jurisdiction over "revision of laws."

Accordingly, she cited certain provisions of the Administrative Code that seem to have been ignored in the appointment of Puno, such as the need for a prior recommendation in favor of an undersecretary issued by the secretary.

Santiago said that when Ochoa pointed out that she had not sent her set of questions to the invited cabinet members, the same thing was echoed by the two senators, showing that they were "reading from the same playbook."

"My opponents appear to be intellectually challenged. The requirement for prior submission of questions applies only to the Question Hour under the Constitution. It does not apply to the committee hearings," she said.

In a more playful mood, Santiago said she is avoiding going to the Senate, because she is so nettled that her blood pressure might rise again.

"Heart Evangelista called me early today to say that I should no longer go to the Senate if I will only lose my temper," Santiago said, laughing.

But she said that she received a similar request from her only child, Archie Santiago. "Last Saturday evening, my son invited my husband and me to dinner at Greenhills. It turned out that he brought his entire family, including my grandkids so that they could all admonish me not to jeopardize my health. So I am under interdiction," she said.

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