Press Release
April 9, 2013

Transcript of interview with Senator Santiago

On Margaret Thatcher's death

I'm very sad because Lady Thatcher has died. I met her here in the Philippines. I met her right after I allegedly lost in the presidential elections. She was touring Asia. She showed me extraordinary sympathy and compassion. She had read up on me, which was amazing because she is a global leader, and she commended me for my book called Cutting Edge. She said that she never reads the newspapers when she was PM because they ruined her day.

I idolize her, actually. She is very unique and very brilliant. She started by taking chemistry in Oxford, and then she switched to law, which is very astounding. The kind of mental discipline that is needed to calibrate your brain from the sciences to the more social aspects of society, including social engineering, was amazing. I was very enriched with my experience with her. She was very results-oriented like me. I remember she came down the stairs, she greeted me and looked at my book, and then said "Well, let's have a picture!", everyone was standing around hoping to get a word with her and she knew people love to have pictures with her, so immediately we all fell in line. And then there was a certain general who was taking his time, maybe out of shyness. So she said rather sternly to him, "Oh come on, general! Shake a leg!" I love her for that memory.

On the oil smuggling issue

Gusto lang nilang palitan si Commissioner Biazon. Iyang smuggling na iyan--of gasoline, rice, vegetables, vehicles--lahat na iyan problema na noon. Bakit ngayon bigla na lang sumabog ng ganyan? Matagal nang sinabi ni President Aquino iyan. He has a speech in February where he said we are losing Php 30-40 billion a year to oil smuggling, so hindi kasalanan iyan ng present commissioner. Ako, ayokong palitan siya dahil ngayon pa lang siya natuto. In my experience in the bureaucracy, you need about a year or two to be familiar with how things work there, and now we are in a position to be able to do something so you should not be removed. So I can see very clearly that Mr. Biazon may have stepped on very powerful toes, and also he is also the object of envy of the crooks because, kung magnanakaw ka, very lucrative ang maging commissioner. Kaya ngayon pinuputakti nila siya. Plus, I am very suspicious because they are claiming this or that should be appointed commissioner. Anong relasyon niyon sa oil smuggling? Matagal na ang oil smuggling na iyan. Kung meron mang dapat pumalit sa kanya, yung kanyang deputy commissoner for intelligence, si Gen. Danilo Lim, kaya dapat bigyan mo ng pagkakataon si deputy commissioner for intelligence and then the deputy commissioner for enforcement na magawaan ng paraan itong mga smuggling na ito. For me, it is really unfair to call for the head or person just because a fact long known or accepted by our community is now being given prominence. Talagang malaking problema ang smuggling, but it cannot be solved by changing the commissioner, lalo na kapag ang ibang tao gustong maging commissioner. I think that is the main problem: too many people want to be commissioner.

Do you think the ones behind the propaganda against his leadership interesado sa position or tinamaan sa kanyang anti-smuggling campaign?

That's right. Both. Iyong mga nasaktan sa kanyang reforms gusto na siyang paalisin diyan, maski sino basta huwag lang siya. Tapos iyon namang gustong maging commissioner na nakikitang may pagkakataon sila, maski sinasabing ayaw nila. That game is as old as Methuselah, pwede ba.

On the SC's decision on the Party-list Law

Boy, we were all gobsmacked by that! You know, we were all blindsided. Nobody expected that. Now, it becomes a proposition that we have the party-list system in the Constitution for social engineering. Ganun pala ang sa tingin ng Supreme Court. In the view of the majority of the justices, iyon palang party-list system is a means or a tool for social engineering of our elective system. We all though before that the party-list system is an anti-poverty measure. [The SC] changed the entire perspective. In my view, I just don't think that the party-list representatives have been worth it. If there is a move to change the Charter, one of my first suggestions will be to abolish that system. It's not working. We'll just have the legislative districts--they are not any better than other people. I am not condemnatory of the position taken by the majority of the Supreme Court, but I think it is evidence that the party-list system was poorly thought out during the Constitutional Convention.

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