Miriam raises hell, sees sabotage on Puno probe

Posted at 09/13/2012 4:43 PM | Updated as of 09/14/2012 12:00 PM

Miriam: Boycott the handiwork of Malacanang?

MANILA (UPDATED) - Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago on Thursday raised fears that the investigation she initiated against resigned Interior and Local Government Secretary Rico Puno might be sabotaged.

In a statement sent to the media, the feisty senator said not a single member of her committee, a total of 11 senators, has confirmed attendance for Friday’s probe.

She said the senators gave as an excuse that they would be out of town. At least two senators are needed in a committee hearing.

Santiago said that if there will be no quorum, Malacanang must have entered the picture already.

“If it happens, such a deliberate boycott will indicate that even my fellow senator who are members of my committee do not support my initiative.  I will certainly raise a protest, but I’m thinking at the moment of what form my protest will take,” Santiago said.

Puno not appearing?

Santiago also said Puno himself has not confirmed his attendance.

Most of the invited individuals, including Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and PNP Director General Nicanor Bartolome, have already confirmed their attendance.

Santiago said that if Puno is absent, “then it will show that he is a craven coward, that all charges against him are probably true, and that he is thumbing his nose at the Filipino public.”

“He has to be present and invoke the privilege for every question.  That is not a ground for an omnibus refusal to answer all questions or to be absent,” she said.

Santiago said that if the committee decides to issue a subpoena to Puno, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile will still have to sign the directive.

“If the Senate President refuses to sign the subpoena, in effect, he will disapprove the committee recommendation, which is not normal,” she said. Enrile earlier said some questions may be raised on the jurisdiction of the committee in calling for the probe.