Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago filed a resolution questioning the legality of two recent Memorandum Circulars by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said to cause current traffic gridlocks in Katipunan Avenue and parts of C5.
“I’m calling for a Senate investigation on these LTFRB issuances because they prejudice public transport safety to benefit only a few. It seems that these issuances violate the Aquino administration’s policies for economic development,” Santiago said.
Santiago identified these LTFRB issuances as Memorandum Circular Numbers 2014-009, suspending operations against colorum buses and out-of-line operations; and 2014-010, which allowed public utility buses (PUBs) to modify their routes and pass through major thoroughfares, such as EDSA, from 19 June 2014 to 17 October 2014.
Colorum buses are public utility vehicles operating without a permit or are out-of-line public utility vehicles that operate outside their approved routes or area.
Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago cried foul over reports that so-called VIP prisoners enjoy extravagant accommodations in jails.
“How can there be justice in our correctional system when we have a double standard between poor and rich inmates?” the senator asked.
Santiago cited news reports of rich high-risk prisoners in the New Bilibid Prison staying in airconditioned rooms, enjoying contraband supplies such as illegal drugs and alcohol, and even taking in sex workers.
Some VIP inmates reportedly drive around the penitentiary grounds in golf carts, electric motorcycles, and tricycles.
It was also reported that the maximum security compound has its own dress shops, wet and dry markets, fruit stands, as well as facilities such a jazz bar, plaza, and tennis court.
“These prisoners are supposed to be experiencing punishment for their crimes, not taking a vacation. They are making a mockery out of the justice system by turning our jails into their own private resorts,” she said.
Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, member of the bicameral Commission on Appointments, denounced as “indubitably unethical, unprincipled, and reeks of trapo politics” what she said is a plot to obtain confirmation of DSWD Sec. Corazon Soliman, over her opposition and those of certain House representatives.
Santiago said that the Commission on Appointments, headed by Senate president Franklin Drilon, originally scheduled the plenary session for Soliman’s nomination yesterday (Wednesday).
But earlier yesterday, Drilon suddenly postponed the plenary session for Soliman’s nomination to next Wednesday, June 11.
“On the June 4 plenary session, I am allowed to raise my veto against Soliman. But on June 11, I will lose the veto, because of the Rules of the Commission on Appointments. Thus, Drilon and his Liberal Party cohorts will be able to deny my veto power by simply postponing the plenary session by one week,” Santiago said.
Santiago said that Soliman has been “overstaying” as acting DSWD secretary from the time Pres. Aquino assumed office, and the LP is now resorting to “dirty tricks” to get Soliman confirmed.
On the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement signed by the US and PH yesterday (28 April 2014)
This is an unfair surprise on the PH Senate which, under the Constitution, shares the treaty-making power with the President. All the while, the Committee on Foreign Relations, of which I am chair, expected that any such Agreement would be signed by the two Presidents. I have argued that such an Agreement should first be submitted for concurrence to the Senate. (There was no hint that the Agreement has been downgraded, for signature not by the two Presidents, but only by the defense secretary and the American ambassador in Manila.) This contretemps does not indicate good faith on the part of the two Presidents. The use of guile in diplomacy should be limited to state-to-state situations, and should not include a situation involving only two branches of the same government.
What should Filipinos think about when it comes to this agreement with the US?
Filipinos should keep uppermost the supremacy of the Philippine Constitution. We should not accommodate any foreign power at the cost of the sovereignty of our Constitution, even if the problem is presented as if it were a problem of national survival.
Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago named Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, who is accused of plunder, as the “brains and financier,” of an alleged psywar destabilization operation that she said began with yesterday’s story in an opposition paper alleging that ranking officials of the Aquino administration are the mastermind behind the pork barrel scandal.
The long story, carried prominently by an obscure opposition newspaper, suspiciously quoted unnamed sources, and failed to refer to any official document.
The suspicious story cited anonymous sources claiming that the most guilty in the pork scam are Pres. Aquino’s trusted allies in the Liberal Party, namely, DBM Sec. Florencio Butch Abad, Agriculture Sec. Proceso Alcala, Senate President Franklin Drilon, and the self-described independent senator Francis Escudero.
At various intervals, the story claimed that there is an alleged list of all other high public officials implicated in the pork scam, held by at least four people, none of whom revealed the contents of the list.
Those who claim to have this list which, at this writing, has not been shown to the media, are: Janet Napoles, also accused of plunder; justice secretary Leila de Lima; controversial personality identifying herself as an alleged whistleblower, Sandra Cam; and presidential assistant and staunch Enrile ally, Panfilo Lacson.