Miriam: I was right about Corona trial

Posted at 10/03/2013 4:02 PM | Updated as of 10/03/2013 5:13 PM

MANILA -- Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago feels she has been proven right in her decision to acquit former Chief Justice Renato Corona in light of the bribery and corruption issues currently hounding the administration and several senators.

The alleged issue of bribery first came up after Senator Jinggoy Estrada, during his privilege speech last September 25, said additional P50 million was given to each senator who voted to convict Corona last May 2012.

Budget Secretary Butch Abad later admitted that 20 senators did receive an additional P1 billion on top of their pork barrel, but insisted they were not bribes nor incentives.

He said the funds were part of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) used to "ramp up spending."

Most releases were made from November to December 2012.

In an interview with ANC's "Headstart" on Thursday, Santiago said it was not right to impeach Corona on the basis of his failure to include his dollar accounts in his statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs).

Aside from that, she said it was also wrong for the senators to convict Corona when they themselves were secretly receiving funds from Malacañang in the form of the so-called DAP.

"In effect I feel I have been proven right by subsequent events when I said bakit kasalanan ng tao na hindi niya nilista sa kanyang [SALN] ang kanyang mga pag-aaring pera ng dayuhan, foreign currency. Nasa loob ng ating batas nakalagay na kung foreign currency ang pinaglagyan mo ng pera mo, di mo kailangang i-report. It's absolutely confidential," she said.

"Di lamang [siya natanggal], napahiya siya pati pa mga anak niya. All his successors will have to carry this stigma," she added, pertaining to Corona.

"Nakita natin ang kasalanan ng Chief Justice was di niya nilista sa listahan niya. Ngayon ang kasalanan ng mga senador at ng mga congressmen ay hindi lamang sa hindi nila nilista, ang kasalanan nila tumanggap sila ng limpak-limpak na pera," Santiago said.

The senator also noted that the situation now has become worse, as lawmakers involved in the pork barrel scam supposedly received as much as 50 percent of all PDAF funneled to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) set up Janet Lim Napoles.

"Noon komisyon lang, 10 percent, 20 percent. Pero ngayon hindi komisyon, talagang nakawan na talaga dahil hinahati na nila at walang proyekto at all... Noon substandard lang, tinitipid mo. Pagkatapos ng isang bagyo lang, sira na ang daan pero at least may daan. Ngayon wala talaga," she said.

"It indicates that the Senate has never been in good faith," Santiago added.