Miriam Defensor Santiago (Photo credit: danrogayan.wordpress)

Miriam Defensor Santiago (Photo credit: danrogayan.wordpress)

I think Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago is one of the most underestimated, if not overestimated, women in the Philippines. People either think she’s amusing or crazy. Hardly anyone gives a damn about what she’s saying. They’d quote her words just so they can get a laugh out of her. I say she’s brilliant.

There’s so much brilliance in her, but it’s often overlooked because of her manner of speech and the pitch of her voice. When she gave her stand on CJ Corona’s impeachment trial, she was the only one who nailed it, citing provisions on the constitution and digging into the heart of the matter: is non-disclosure of dollar accounts in the SALN tantamount to bribery, treason and other high crimes enumerated by the constitution as impeachable? She said NO. And she has my vote on that. But the senators want to put themselves in the limelight and emerge as the heroes of this cheap soap opera. Who cares about constitutional law or about you, Senator Miriam? 2013 is fast approaching. They need to advertise themselves. It’s free exposure – several days of obvious campaigning in the guise of an impeachment trial. Both you and Corona were owned. But whatever these self-righteous people say, it doesn’t change the fact that the crime they charged him of committing was… so petty. Laughable, even. Moreover, it’s a crime that’s also applicable to them. Desperation for attention leads to a shallow conviction.

Categories under the SALN are too ambiguous. During my stint at the Cebu City Government, I myself had trouble. I wondered to myself if I should disclose the value of my fake jewelries or if property meant the lands my parents own (which I will eventually inherit) or lands which I personally bought and are currently under my name. Because I couldn’t inherit or buy any land yet, I had no property to disclose of then (I was 21 at the time) except for a credit card with a P10k credit limit, the bank account provided by the government (Land Bank), the RCBC bank account I had which contained P500, clothes, shoes and a bunch of notebooks for my doodles. I passed my SALN relatively blank and so did my colleagues. I don’t recall any category that said “dollar accounts: old and new.” If non-disclosure of dollar accounts is all it takes to get impeached, then we sure have a lot of candidates for the next twenty years (one senator every year?). What about all the government employees who submitted almost blank SALNs because it was too ambiguouos to digest? Shouldn’t they be convicted as well?

I can’t say any further regarding the Corona case. The heck with being a Political Science major. I can only say that the trial was stupid, silly and shallow. It’s also a waste of public money. Millions were spent to see the trial through. How many Magnum ice creams could have been bought with so much money already? How many burnt homes rebuilt, how many development projects funded, how many scholarships given away, how many refrigerators – oh, such waste! At least Madame Miriam made my day. Despite her screeching voice, she has all my respect. Between her and P-Noy, who do you think is more “abnoy”? Mmm. I’m keeping mum on the subject, but I give my salute to Madame. Your speech is the most sensible one by far and I shall save it for future reference (if I decide to head on to that future, anyway).

author: Ehx Tihn

p.e./kf