$1B LOAN TO IMF IS CONSTITUTIONAL

Speech at the induction of officers of the Credit Management Association of the Philippines, Inc., on 28 June 2012, at Shangri-la Makati Hotel.

Today, there is an economic crisis in Europe, because certain members of the European Union – namely, Greece, Spain, Ireland, and Portugal – are bankrupt.  These bankrupt countries have two choices.  The first choice is to exit from the European Union, and possibly cause the downfall of the EU.  The second choice is to apply for loans from the International Monetary Fund, and accept such conditionalities as: reducing public spending, increasing collection of taxes, liberalizing their international economic relations, and even improving other areas of government.

            The IMF said that it will raise $456B for loans to those European countries.  As part of the European Union program, the IMF chair has requested the Philippines to lend money to its pool of funds.

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MIRIAM PUSHES RH FOR JUNE NEWLYWEDS

In the wedding month of June, Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago said at a posh Cebu City wedding, that all newlyweds should consider it a moral duty to observe reproductive health during marriage.

Santiago, as principal wedding sponsor and guest speaker on Saturday, June 23, exhorted a newly-married couple to “follow the RH paradigm,” at a 5-star hotel wedding reception attended by some of the most prominent Cebu City families.
“Reproductive health is the new wave of the future.  The critics are flaying a dead horse.  To mix metaphors, the critics are missing the boat.  In the 2013 elections, the voters will educate the non-educable,” said Santiago, and then launched her popular pick-up lines at the Shangrila Hotel Marquee.

BIRTHDAY MESSAGE

Dear Friend,

            I love you!  I remember you on my birthday today, because you held my hand during the impeachment trial.  As you know, I was martyred by the administration, particularly by two persons in their media bureau.  They even hired guns-for-hire to assassinate my character.  But you were there for me.  I believe that is the reason that I not only survived, but we prevailed!

            As you see from the Inquirer article today, June 15, on page 7, entitled “Ovation Shocks Miriam Out of Her Skin” by Cynthia Balana, you and I were correct in taking the moral high ground during impeachment.  I am now convinced that the Filipino public are behind us.  Again, we are vindicated in the belief that the universe is governed by a Universal Mind.

            Let me share my birthday message with you:

                                    The nature of life is to change.

                                    The adventure of life is to learn.

                                    The purpose of life is to grow.

                                    The challenge of life is to overcome.

            We have overcome!  Thanks very, very much!  With gazillion hugs and kisses!

                                                                        Sincerely yours,

                                                                        MIRIAM

MIRIAM SLAMS AUSTRALIA VFA

Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, during interpellation yesterday, said she would vote against concurrence with President Aquino’s ratification of the RP-Australia Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

Pres. Aquino certified the treaty as urgent, and it was sponsored last Monday by Sen. Loren Legarda, with the intention to have a Senate vote by tomorrow (Wednesday, June 6) before the Senate adjourns sine die.

“This treaty violates the doctrine of void for vagueness.  It is so vague that it will spawn myriad irritants in RP-Australia relations,” said Santiago, an expert in international law and former chair of the Senate foreign relations committee.

Santiago pointed to the VFA Art. 5, para. 1, which provides that the Visiting Forces may temporarily use such defined land and sea areas, air space or facilities, of the Receiving State mutually determined by the Parties, for “combined training, exercises, or other activities mutually approved by the Parties.”

“The term ‘other activities’ is so open-ended and wide-ranging that it will become elastic, with virtual freedom for Australian forces to engage in any kind of activity within Philippine territory.  That is unacceptable,” Santiago said.

On another point, Santiago criticized the VFA because it does not specify the magnitude of Australian military presence within the Philippines.

“This VFA will reduce Philippine sovereignty and may even pose a threat to the security of the Filipino people.  Malacañang must clarify and renegotiate if necessary, what will be the specific activities of the Australian Visiting Forces,” Santiago said.

            Santiago added that the VFA, Art. 13, para. 8 (a), which provides for the exemption of Australian Forces from duties and taxes will require the concurrence of a majority of all the members of Congress.

She cited the Philippine Constitution, Article 6, Sec. 28, para (4), which provides: “No law granting any tax exemption shall be passed without the concurrence of a majority of all the Members of Congress.”

“Congress should first pass a law granting the tax exemption, before the Senate concurs with this treaty.  The Constitution provides for a vote of the majority of all Congress members, meaning that there should be a majority vote of both the Senate and the House of Representatives,” she said.

On still another point, Santiago said that the VFA rules on criminal jurisdiction embodied in Art. 11 might be unconstitutional, because it impinges on the exclusive power of the Supreme Court to “promulgate rules concerning pleadings, practice and procedure in all courts” under the Constitution, Art. 8, Sec. 5 para. (5).

Finally, Santiago singled out the VFA Art. 11, para. 12 which provides that: “A sentence of death shall not be carried out by either Party.”

“The Philippine Constitution allows the death penalty for ‘compelling reasons involving heinous crimes,’” Santiago said, citing the Philippine Constitution, Art. 3, Sec. 19, para. 1.  “Thus, there seems to be a conflict between the VFA and the Philippine Constitution,” she said.

Santiago said that the proponents of the RP-Australian VFA have not made clear what is the constitutional basis for the Philippines to allow our military forces to be trained by a Visiting Force in our own territory.

“Why should Filipino military forces be trained by Australians in Philippine territory?  Why are we not capable of training our own military forces within our own country?” she asked.