Press Release
April 25, 2013


Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago said that recently released survey results might be "radically changed" after the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) releases its official list of approved senatorial candidates, expected this month.

Santiago also said that because of the numerical edge enjoyed by the administration coalition, the next Senate President will come from the senor members of the coalition, namely: Sergio Osmeña III, Franklin Drilon, Cynthia Villar, or Teofisto Guingona III.

Santiago spoke at the annual national convention of the Philippine Masons with an audience of some 2,000 members, held at Iloilo City yesterday (April 25). There are over 25,000 Freemasons in the country.

The senator said that senatorial candidates should not be complacent about their survey rankings, because the INC is now said to have 9 million voters who, following INC practice, will vote as a bloc.

Santiago said that the INC ticket will be geared toward punishment of certain reelectionist senators who may have "doublecrossed" the INC.

"INC, out of patriotism, took a strong position during a recent political controversy. Certain reelectionist senators reportedly promised to support the INC position; but out of opportunism, reneged on their promise when the hour came," the senator said.

She refused to divulge further details of this alleged incident, because it might violate the privacy of the INC.

But she added: "You don't doublecross the INC and get away with it."

She also said that the next Senate President will definitely come from the administration coalition, because the administration will have 16 senators, the opposition 5 senators, and an independent bloc will have 3 senators, including herself.

"With 16 senators more or less in the Senate, it is a no-brainer that the administration will get to pick the next Senate President from the most senior members of the coalition," she said.

Santiago said that the so-called "Catholic vote" will not be a factor in the coming May elections. She explained that the campaign by certain Catholic parishes against senators who voted in favor of the Reproductive Health Law is merely an act of vengeance, saying: "Vengeance is an attitude that evokes the Old Testament, and is incompatible with the emphasis on Christian love in the New Testament."

"It makes me squirm when I watch on television a cleric mouthing a political vocabulary. It makes my toes curl," Santiago said.

The senator said that depending on the effect of the solid INC vote, the administration coalition will have 16 senators, including Senators Angara, Aquino, Alan Cayetano, Pia Cayetano, Drilon, Escudero, Guingona III, Legarda, Marcos, Jr., Osmeña III, Pimentel III, Poe, Recto, Sotto III, Trillanes IV, and Villar.

In contrast, Santiago said the opposition coalition will only have 5 senators: Enrile, Estrada, Binay, Ejercito and either Honasan or Jack Ponce Enrile.

The senator said that a bloc of independent senators will consist of Revilla and Lapid, who are both from Lakas; and herself, coming from her own People's Reform Party.

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