Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, chair of the Senate committee on constitutional amendments, said that she is against charter change at this time.

“If there should be charter change at all, it should be done by election of delegates to a constitutional convention, and not by transforming Congress into a constitutional assembly,” she said.

She added that transforming Congress into a constituent assembly would raise suspicion among the people that legislators might be serving certain agendas under pressure from vested interests and other lobby groups.

“Certain politicians boast that even if the nation calls for a constitutional convention with elected delegates, the local politicians would be able to control who the delegates will be.  That is hubris, unjustifiable pride of authority,” the senator said.

The solution to this, she said, is to educate the voting public of the need to disassociate the constitutional process from political patronage.

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Transcript of Miriam’s interview at the Kapihan sa Senado (12 July 2012)

Miriam at the Kapihan sa Senado (Photo by Joseph Vidal)

On COMELEC Chairman Brillantes and MDS reporting to the ICC

MDS: We have always been friends. In fact, I consider him a decent person, but I feel that he is under pressure by certain political enemies, so he has to answer these planted questions of whether I should resign, and when. The thing here is, number one, there is no law that allows a public official or even the collective Senate to compel a Senator to resign. There is no such legal basis. Number two, I cannot report to the International Criminal Court at my discretion. They have their own rules there and they have to obey it. So, that is the end of the story. I just remain as a Senator until the ICC calls me to duty. You see, ang ICC, iba siya ating domestic courts. Sa ating domestic court, pati sa Supreme Court, pag dumating na ang retirement age mo, basta iwanan mo lang lahat ng kaso mo alis ka na, wala ka nang pakialam. Pag dumating na yung petsa ng retirement mo, wala ka nang magagawa pa, o wala silang expectations na may gagawin ka pa, basta iwan mo na lang sila lahat diyan, bahala na. Sa international tribunal, iba ang patakaran nila. Kung merong incumbent judge, at may limit ang number of judges, for example, ICC, ang limit ay 18 judges at any one time. Now kung may incumbent judge that is now due for retirement, even if his retirement date has already arrived, he is prohibited from leaving the court until he has finished all the trials and all the appeals in which he has participated.

Nakita ninyo na mas logical ang sistema sa ICC, dahil sa ganung paraan, sigurado ng mga partido na matatapos ang kaso. Kasi kung iwan mo yan, if you are working as a collegiate group of three, for example in every chamber in the ICC, pag iniwanan ninyo yan, di kailangan kukuha sila ng panibagong judge at yung judge na yun, kailangan umpisahan na naman sa simula ang buong kaso. So, to waste the time of the other two judges and of the parties. It simply wastes the time and expense of the ICC. Iba sila sa atin.

Nagkakamali itong mga kalaban ko, dahil akala nila basta may retirement date ang incumbent judge sa ICC, basta magpapakita ka at aalis. Hindi pwede yun. Kami namang mga bago, hindi naman kami pwede mag-report dun sa kagustuhan namin, dahil pag nandiyan pa ang incumbent judge at tinatapos pa niya ang bista niya at magreport kami, di sobra na kami sa 18. Kaya maaari na kung ang incumbent judge whom I am scheduled to replace needs three or four more years to finish his trials and appeals, I cannot report for duty there. I am not considered as employed by the ICC until after I have been called to duty. Kung kailan man yun, pati ang ICC, hindi nila alam.

I would say that all of these questions about my resignation comes only from the same source that conducted black propaganda against me during the impeachment trial. Naalala ninyo nung impeachment trial, meron sa internet na nag-umpisa daw siya ng kampanya para matanggal daw ako sa ICC. Hindi pa nga ako nakapag-report doon, gusto niya patanggal niya ako because of my alleged mental instability as evidenced by my outburst during the impeachment trial. Ngayon, siya na rin ang nag-umpisa ng black propaganda sa akin nung 1992, nung tumakbo akong presidente. Itong tao, nagpapanggap na abogado pero the Supreme Court of San Francisco found him guilty of malpractice of law and ordered him to pay a fine of about US$135,000 to a Filipina whom he defrauded. He did not have enough money, so he declared himself bankrupt. Kaya maski-sino, pwede mag-upa ng taong ito. Malalaman ninyo yan sa internet kung hanapin ninyo ang pangalan niya. Manira maski kanino, yan ang paninira niya. Gusto niya na idisqualify ako sa ICC. Ngayon naman, yung nagsuhol sa kanya, nanunuhol na naman ng ibang tauhan, na kailangan, magreport na ako sa ICC. I tell my enemies, pwede ba? Make up your minds. Should I report, or should I be disqualified? Kung anu-ano ang mga imbento ninyo sa akin. Magbasa muna kayo ng statute of the ICC. This is all the result of overwhelming ignorance of the law. Kaya I tell all my enemies, ayaw ninyo talaga sa akin, then treat me like a nuisance. If that is the way they look at me, I propose that they should read the provisions on abatement of a nuisance under the Civil Code. Kung may puno ka, pwede mo patayin. Kung de-kuryente, pwede mo ihinto. So, I tell all my enemies who just want to get rid of me, after I was voted by millions of Filipinos to serve a six-year term, I tell my enemies, stop molesting me.

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Over 3,000 nurses gave Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago a standing ovation when she declared that she will not resign from the Senate until she is called to duty in the International Criminal Court.

“I was elected in 2010 for a six-year term.  I am duty-bound to serve as long as I can.  The ICC itself advised me not to resign until I am called to The Hague,” she said.

Santiago was keynote speaker at the opening ceremonies of the two-day annual national convention of the Operating Room Nurses Association of the Philippines (ORNAP), held last July 7, at the Manila Hotel Fiesta Pavilion.

Santiago being mobbed by nurses after her speech at the opening ceremonies of the two-day annual national convention of the Operating Room Nurses Association of the Philippines (ORNAP), last July 7, at the Manila Hotel Fiesta Pavilion.

After her speech, Santiago tried to leave the ballroom, but she was mobbed by the hysterical crowd, and had to hold on to a security guard in order to keep her balance.

At a press conference, Santiago said that the developing alignment of political forces between the administration party led by President Benigno Aquino III, and the opposition party led by former President Joseph Estrada, “is totally predictable.”

She said that the reason for the shifting of political parties among candidates is the lack of an ideological or philosophical distinction between parties.

“We should have a two-party system which should give the Filipino voter a choice between conservatives and liberals on the role of government in society,” she said.

The senator said that the choice should be include on the one hand, a conservative party that will concentrate only on peace and order, and allow the free market to operate.

She said on the other hand, that a liberal party should advocate a more active role for government in society, including the economy.

“Normally, the result is that the rich gravitate to a conservative party, while the middle and lower classes gravitate to a liberal party,” she said.

The standing ovation for Santiago was a second, after the first ovation given to her at a ballet performance.

“I am happily surprised at this ovation.  I think the Filipinos are expressing their appreciation and wishing me well in my career abroad,” she said, in trying to explain the phenomenon.

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