Press Release
September 10, 2014


Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, chair of the Commission on Appointments' foreign affairs committee, walked out of her own committee hearing, because the members of the House of Representatives wanted her to wait for all other late members.

Santiago pointed out that some 50 nominees for various posts in the Department of Foreign Affairs had been waiting since 10:00 a.m., and it would be "irresponsible" to make them wait further.

"That would be a classic case of congressional arrogance," Santiago fumed.

Santiago is known for her punctuality when she presides at committee hearings. Originally, the hearing was set at 10:00 a.m., but by 8:00 a.m., she called the committee secretary to tell the members that the hearing would start at 11:00 a.m., because of the heavy rains.

Santiago cited the Rules of the Commission on Appointments, which provides that during an investigation or hearing, the quorum may consist of the presence of the chair only, the vice-chair only, or three members.

Santiago has observed this quorum for some 10 years that she has been chair of the CA committee on foreign affairs.

However, Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas - who came later than 11:00 a.m. to the hearing -argued that the action on the nominees should be taken only after a committee meeting, which under the Rules requires a quorum of majority of the 18 members.

"I am only on partial recovery from lung cancer. I forced myself to come here, in order to avoid prejudice to some 50 nominees from the DFA. Now he wants all their majesties from the House of Representatives to come at their own sweet time and for all of us to wait at their pleasure. This is legislative abuse," she said.

Santiago said that the issue is whether the CA Rules should be followed which state that in a public hearing on the DFA, the quorum consisted of only herself as the chair, just one vice-chair, or three members.

After she walked out, Santiago explained the legal issue to the Senate media, and answered questions from them.

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