Press Release
October 4, 2013


Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, an expert in international law, said that if the senators and representatives charged with plunder succeed in delaying the cases before the Ombudsman and ultimately in the Sandiganbayan, the Philippines might become a failed state.

Transparency International defines a failed state as one where the state lacks an effective judicial system, and lacks the rule of law.

"State failure can be caused by rampant corruption, predatory elites who have long manipulated power, and an absence of the rule of law," Santiago said.

Santiago was guest speaker at the 50th golden anniversary of the Colegio de Sta. Rosa, Makati, at Rockwell Centre yesterday (October 4).

The senator said that as shown in the case of Guinea, even a high economic growth rate will not save a state from failure, if economic prosperity is accompanied by a widening gap between the rich and the poor.

She gave as examples Burma and Haiti as states that failed because of corruption and repression.

"The PDAF and the DAP pork barrel scams will not go away. The Philippines has been undergoing the complex and conflict-ridden processes of deterioration and steady erosion of state functions for decades. This is payback time," she said.

Santiago cited as a reason for prolonged voter outrage an increasingly sophisticated voter population with the advent of social media, and the import of modern ideas on governance by overseas Filipino workers.

"The behaviour of my colleagues with respect to PDAF and DAP have been so self-seeking that senators and representatives involved have crossed the line into kleptocracy or into state capture," she said.

Santiago specifically warned that: "The greed for pork barrel among lawmakers is undermining government legitimacy."

The senator said the country can still stave off a final collapse by taking three steps:

First, Santiago said, that the administration should allow the Supreme Court TRO to remain in place, on the release of the balance of the PDAF for 2013.

Second, the senator proposed that the P2.268 trillion budget for 2014 recently passed by the House of Representatives should be reduced by removing the P25.4 billion pork barrel.

"In the 2014 budget, pork barrel remains in the budget. It is hidden in the budgets of the various executive departments and the bulk will go to DPWH," she said.

Third, Santiago urged the Senate to integrate into the regular budget certain off-budget sources of revenues, namely: the P130 billion Malampaya Fund; P12.5 billion motor vehicle users charge; the PAGCOR Social Fund; and the PCSO Charity Fund.

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