Miriam: Some senators only want to make money

Posted at 12/14/12 11:37 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Senator Miriam-Defensor Santiago has delivered her one of most-scathing criticisms yet on her fellow lawmakers, as she accused some senators of just trying to line their pockets with cash.

In an exclusive interview with Korina Sanchez aired Friday on ANC, Santiago said she was stunned when she learned of the practices of some lawmakers first-hand.

"I'm afraid some senators run and win because they want to make money out of their position," she said.

"It's not a unique discovery by any means but it is chilling when you're already there," she added.

Santiago said some senators are also known to issue press releases to praise themselves and hire people to attack their rivals.

"And then to make all of these self-elevating press releases, you know there are people who make a living issuing undeserved praises or trying to destroy enemies of their patrons. It's just organized hypocrisy in many ways," she said.
"No one has said 'I'm a crook and I'm ashamed of it.' They deliver these orations about good government..., aaah it's so frustrating," she added.

Santiago, however, did not name the senators she was referring to.

"I don't think I should have entered politics. I don't know how I got there in the first place. When I was a student, I really viewed it with great horror," she said.

Clueless during Corona trial

Some of her fellow lawmakers are also clueless about the legal profession, Santiago said.

She said she went often went ballistic during the impeachment trial of then Supreme Court Justice Renato Corona because her colleagues failed at trying to be judges.

"Some of these guys have never seen a court room. They are not familiar with the rules of court and now, they want to do certain things that are unheard of in the judiciary or they're quoting things out of context, perhaps because they picked out a summary of quotations," she said.

Santiago, who was a regional trial court judge for 5 years, said her fellow senators "have no clue what the legal profession is all about... or that that the end product of the entire [trial] procedure is justice."

She said she got mad at times during the trial to express her disgust at her colleagues.

"When you're thrown into that kind of a company, you either get  cowed into submission like the rest or you scramble out of the bucket or pail that you've been thrown together. Or you try to explode the bucket and all of you will get annihilated," she said.

"The last alternative was my personal choice," she added.

Santiago has been elected as judge in the International Criminal Court (ICC).

However, she said she won't resign from the Senate until the ICC  calls her to duty.

Not guilty vote explained

Santiago said she ruled "not guilty" on the Corona case because she was doubtful that Corona indeed committed the allegations that were raised against him.

She added that her decision was also a way of showing her disdain for the ignorance of the legal process that was shown during the impeachment trial.

"For someone who is completely idiotic in every stem cell of his body, to walk into my court room and try to exhibit his invincible ignorance, that is for me, an insult," she said.

"You don't have to be perfectly convinced of the innocense of the accused. The rule is you must have reasonable basis to acquit the accused. If there is doubt, acquit, that is the rule," Santiago added.

"My role [in the Senate] is to tell the truth," she said.