Archive | March, 2011

Senate Resolution No. 38

24 Mar

P1060518-e  P1060519-e

Republic of the Philippines

Congress of the Philippines

Senate

Pasay City

Fifteenth Congress

First Regular Session

-oOo-

RESOLUTION NO. 38

RESOLUTION CONGRATULATING SENATOR MIRIAM DEFENSOR SANTIAGO FOR BEING ONE OF THE TEN AWARDEES OF THE WOMANITY AWARD BY THE FEMALE NETWORK AND FOR BEING LISTED AS ONE OF THE TWENTY MOST INFLUENTIAL FILIPINAS OF 2010 NAMED BY GOOGLE.COM

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Interview transcript – 22 March 2011

23 Mar

We are going on caucus so we can discuss privately among ourselves what should be the amendment to the present Senate rules on impeachment, which is virtually only a copy of the United States Senate manual on impeachment. So my first recommendation is palitan na lang ang Ingles dahil masyadong luma na ang gamit nilang Ingles.

With respect to the rules themselves, these are my proposed amendments:

Number one, we must accept that the impeachment is a very serious process. Remember, when we were impeaching a president, we are not only removing him from office and disqualifying from entering any future office, but we are also rescinding the will of the electorate that put him in office. In the political aspect, what should govern the impeachment process in the Senate should be, among others, the provision in the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials which says we should observe political neutrality. So I humbly propose that the rule should be principled political neutrality. We must expound on the political aspect by teaching our senators they should observed principled political neutrality.

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Interview transcript – 21 March 2011

22 Mar

On the Blue Ribbon committee hearing earlier this morning

The right against self-incrimination—in other words, the right not to testify against yourself—has two categories. Number one, the right against self-incrimination by the accused himself, and number two, the right against self-incrimination by a mere witness. If the accused himself altogether refused to testify, he can just say “I don’t want to testify” or “I don’t want to take the witness stand”, that is his right and it is recognized by our Constitution because there is a constitutionally protected right against self-incrimination for reasons of policy and for reasons of humanity. If you are a witness, that is a different story. You have to take the witness stand, you have to testify, and you cannot invoke the right against self-incrimination.

In the case of the Ligot couple, remember they are the accused. So if their lawyer produced more neurons in his brain, he would have advised the couple not to take the stand absolutely because that is their right. But they took the witness stand, so in effect they have waived their right to self-incrimination. They could now be forced to testify. They waived it because their lawyer did not counsel them otherwise. It will be the Blue Ribbon committee that will decide on whether the invocation of the right against self-incrimination is correct or not, so let them decide it.

With respect to the answer “I cannot remember”, there is a difference between the phrase “I cannot remember” and the phrase “It will tend to incriminate me”. The phrase “It will tend to incriminate me” excuses the witness but only if he is the accused. If he is the witness, then he must await for the decision on the matter of self-incrimination by the tribunal. On the matter of “I cannot remember”, that is a refusal to testify, and that could be ground for citing the witness in contempt. In any event, because they have given the answer “I cannot remember”, I would vote for contempt in that because to keep saying “I cannot remember” eternal amnesia is a virtual challenge to the tribunal to arrive at the truth. #

WOMEN’S MONTH HONORS 10 MOST SUCCESSFUL, 20 MOST INFLUENTIAL FILIPINAS

21 Mar

20070926-RLM_5728

Bad news of nuclear meltdowns is balanced by the good news that, as part of International Women’s Month, two sets of Filipinas – the 10 most successful and the 20 most influential – have been named on the internet.

In these two lists, only Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago and singer Lea Salonga managed the singular feat of being the most successful and most influential at the same time.

On International Women’s Day, March 8, the powerful website Female Network, which has some 4 to 5 million page views per day, released the list of 10 awardees for its first-ever Womanity Award, as follows:

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NIGHT WORK PROHIBITION FOR WOMEN IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL

17 Mar

Privilege speech on Senate Bill No. 2701, delivered on 15 March 2011

Bill is Unconstitutional

In the past, society was governed by the belief that men were far superior to women.  Many times women were not classified as whole persons but as incomplete persons, who were classified together with children and village idiots.  Under this mentality, legislatures – which consisted purely of men – passed laws to extend so-called special protection to women and children.  This is known as the protectionist approach.  The problem with the protectionist approach was that it prevented women from doing certain activities that were open to men.  Thus, the so-called protectionist approach was actually discriminatory against women.

One of the most blatant examples of protective but discriminatory laws was the prohibition of night work for women.  Today, in the age of gender equality and gender balance, night work prohibition for women is an obsolete concept.  This concept – being useless and discriminatory to women – should be completely abolished.

Thus, any bill based on the existing provisions of the Labor Code prohibiting night work for women has already become archaic.  There is no question that Senate Bill 2701 providing for more exceptions from night work prohibition is motivated by the desire to help women.  Unfortunately, because of the paradigm shift giving women equal rights with men, even if the bill apparently seeks to help women, in reality it will still perpetuate the notion that night work for women can be prohibited.

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ISSUES AND PRINCIPLES OF THE ROME STATUTE OF THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT (ICC)

11 Mar

Speech delivered at the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Consultation on the Universality of the Rome Statute of the ICC, held at the Parliament of Malaysia, on 9 March 2011

The entry into force of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court on 1 July 2002 is by any measure a landmark event in criminal justice of the international community. It is the culmination point of the development in the rule of law dealing with the atrocities and barbarities perpetrated on humankind, from Nuremberg and Tokyo to former Yugoslavia, and Rwanda. The Rome Statute, in its preamble, records our collective memory that “during this century millions of children, women and men have been victims of unimaginable atrocities that deeply shock the conscience of humanity.” It affirms by the establishment of the International Criminal Court “to put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of these crimes.”

From a general perspective, the establishment of the International Criminal Court is indeed a landmark development. But on the ground, the impact on, or the interaction of the Court with, national law presents policy dilemmas that many States are struggling with. There may objections on the part of some states which may be avoided by them through appropriate reservations. This option is barred by the fact that the Rome Statute does not allow reservations.

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ISSUES AND PRINCIPLES OF THE ROME STATUTE OF THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT (ICC)

10 Mar

Speech delivered at the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Consultation on the Universality of the Rome Statute of the ICC, held at the Parliament of Malaysia, on 9 March 2011

The entry into force of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court on 1 July 2002 is by any measure a landmark event in criminal justice of the international community.  It is the culmination point of the development in the rule of law dealing with the atrocities and barbarities perpetrated on humankind, from Nuremberg and Tokyo to former Yugoslavia, and Rwanda.  The Rome Statute, in its preamble, records our collective memory that “during this century millions of children, women and men have been victims of unimaginable atrocities that deeply shock the conscience of humanity.”  It affirms by the establishment of the International Criminal Court “to put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of these crimes.”

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THE REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH BILL (Speech on International Women’s Day on 4 March 2011 at the UP Visayas Iloilo City Campus)

8 Mar

Need for an RH Law

Any thinking person will want women to be able to choose if and when to get pregnant; and to have safe pregnancies and childbirth. Adolescent girls need to be able to finish their education and have careers, without having to deal with adolescent pregnancies. Women need to be empowered to say no to sex, and to say no to sex without contraception. Reproductive tract infections and reproductive health conditions including HIV and cancers should be properly addressed.

These are the minimum requirements for an intelligent life. And yet, access to reproductive health information and services are virtually denied to: the poor, the less-educated, the adolescents, the rural, indigenous women, and women from the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). They are the ones who have the most unintended pregnancies and maternal mortalities. Their births are commonly unattended by trained health professionals. The poor women, adolescent women, rural and indigenous women are the ones most affected by the delayed passage of the Reproductive Health, or RH bill into law.

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Announcement

3 Mar

Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago will be the keynote speaker for the International Women’s Day celebration of the University of the Philippines Visayas Iloilo City Campus tomorrow, 4 March 2011, 2:00 p.m. at the UP Visayas auditorium. The event is organized by the UP Visayas community, the UPV Gender and Development Program, and affiliates of the Ugsad Regional Gender Resource Center of Western Visayas.

Interview Transcript – 2 March 2011

3 Mar

On the impeachment proceeding in the House of Representatives against the Ombudsman and calls for her resignation

There is no law that requires any public official to resign or accede to those who demand noisily their resignation from office. There is no such provision in our legal system. So we can do is make a proposal but you cannot force the person to resign with the threat of so and so and such and such. That would constitute the crime of grave threats. So if the person says “I don’t want to resign,” that’s the end of it. So if you are saying, for example, that the person is guilty that’s why she should resign, that is a case of prejudgment. It is difficult for any member of Congress to make such statement or implications in public statements because both the House and the Senate are involved in the impeachment process, and you don’t want the public to charge any senator or congressman with prejudgment. After all, the impeachment involves a trial and a judgment.

If the House continues with these proceedings, my thoughts are as follows, but always in the context of the fact that I am a lawyer:

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