Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago said that the charges filed against her by Ilocos Sur governor Chavit Singson were already dismissed on 8 July 2010 by Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, for lack of jurisdiction over members of Congress.
Accordingly, Santiago twitted the governor as “Sabit” Singson.
“Singson is sabit na naman, meaning he has again broken the law. The Ombudsman herself ruled that she has no jurisdiction over a senator,” Santiago said.
Santiago said that the Singson charges, apart from being prohibited by law, are also unconstitutional, because he is apparently persecuting her for a privilege speech on jueteng that she delivered last week, naming him as the jueteng operator in Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte.
“The Constitution provides for parliamentary immunity, meaning that a senator cannot be held liable in any other place outside of the Senate. Thus, the Ombudsman merely quoted the prohibition in the Ombudsman Act,” said Santiago, a constitutional law expert.
Santiago said that she is studying a future privilege speech to be called “Singson the Sabit.”
“He has a list of “sabit,” meaning criminal liabilities. Maybe I’ll expose it on the Senate floor, after I recover from my present illness,” she said.
Last week, Santiago interrupted her sick leave to deliver an explosive privilege speech in the Senate naming the jueteng operators in all the provinces of Regions 1 to 5, including Singson and his relatives.
Santiago is on sick leave for hypothyroidism, and has been told that it will take at least one more month for her to go back to Senate work.
“He scares a lot of people because of his alleged tendency to violence. But I challenge him personally. I wish I could challenge him to a duel, but that is a crime under the Penal Code. So instead, I challenge him to a debate on any of the major TV channels,” she said.
Santiago said that the voluminous charges filed against her by Singson with the Ombudsman are virtual “carbon copies” of the same charges filed by the same lawyer when she ran for the Senate last May.
“Those same charges have already been dismissed separately by the Ombudsman, by the Supreme Court two times, and by the Comelec. All the cases were handled by the same discredited lawyer who has managed to lose all his four cases against me. He is reportedly facing three disbarment charges,” she said.
Santiago said the charges have become the laughing stock of the country, because it includes the charge that in effect, Santiago herself killed her son.
Santiago noted that among the top newspapers in the country, only one gave prominence to the Singson story.
“He is so influential that he can convince certain staff of a paper to resurrect a dead story. I am filing a complaint with the paper’s ombudsman,” she said.
The senator said she has requested BIR Commissioner Kim Henares to order the BIR national office to conduct lifestyle checks on all alleged jueteng operators led by Singson, as well as all the governors in the provinces in her list.
Santiago added that she has also requested PNP Chief Gen. Raul Bacalzo to order the PNP national office to conduct similar lifestyle checks on the jueteng operators and the NBI provincial directors in each province in her list.
The senator said that Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez could dismiss outright the Singson charges for being prohibited by the 1989 Ombudsman Act.
Santiago said that after her jueteng expose on the Senate floor last week, many senators went up to congratulate her.
“No single senator criticized or contradicted my speech. The text has been mailed throughout the country. The Singson charges are merely an effort to scandalize, intimidate, and muzzle me,” she said.
The senator said that after two months of chronic fatigue, staying at home has been “a life worse than death.”
“All my enemies out there, feel free to shoot me – preferably in the back. But do it after the gun ban,” she joked.
Santiago said she is not afraid to die.
“Death is only a portal. And maybe Archbishop Oscar Cruz will pray for my immortal soul,” she said, referring to the head of the National Crusade Against Jueteng.