Category Archives: Speech

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PARADIGM FOR THE HAPPY LIFE

This was Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago’s speech at the West Visayas State University Commencement Exercises in Iloilo City, 28 March 2014

In my approaching old age, I am now supposed to share with you what life has taught me, and in the end to encapsulate for you what is the meaning of life. From where I am now, I find that these conundrums are easily answered. First, life teaches us that, whether we perceive it as predestined or as random, it is beyond any person’s control. Second, there is no template for the meaning of life. Instead, the meaning of life is what you choose to make it mean. In making your choice, when you reach my age, your journey becomes an affirmation of the warning that life is a consequence of our moral choices.

The Problem of Evil

As professionals in a small developing state, you will be living in an environment of poverty and corruption. I will deal separately with poverty and with corruption. For me, these two features constitute the problem of evil. For example, the P10 billion pork barrel scam is definitely a problem of moral evil, as contrasted with supertyphoon Yolanda, which was a natural evil. We can see that human evil can be defined as “the suffering which results from morally wrong human choices, specially when the moral wrong is of an extreme kind.”[1] It is not difficult to identify the sources of evil in our society. There are many sources, but I will deal with only two.

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Cyber Law on Libel; “Pay-for-Stay” in Napoles Case

This was Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago’s speech as guest speaker at De La Salle University’s First Business Law Conference sponsored by Ley La Salle on 14 March 2014, at De La Salle Manila

I am happy that after making an epic journey from my house in Quezon City to Manila, I have been able to arrive safely, but only after navigating the most catastrophic office trip in the world, which sometimes features traffic smashups, the worst floods to hit the planet after the flood of Noah and his ark, sinkholes, holdups, pickpockets, and just plain street crimes. I risked all these, just to be able to join you at this first business law conference, for which I congratulate the officers and members of Ley La Salle.

Internet as an Enterprise Platform

We have all seen how the Internet and the Web have introduced new ways of interacting, organizing, and doing business. The book entitled Cyber Law, third edition, written by seven professors from various American schools, including Harvard, makes this observation:

The Internet means advances in productivity, speed, and knowledge. It is the fastest, most cost efficient way to reach the widest possible audience. . . . It makes it possible for businesses to deliver targeted aids to users, based on their searches. The net effect of these technologies is nothing short of an information revolution where there is now almost universal access to both free information and free tools to disseminate information.

In the last few years, the Internet has made possible new and different business models. These new models are businesses that exist only in, and only because of, the Internet, include such companies as Google, Facebook, Craigslist, and Instagram.

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MIRIAM TO COLLEGE STUDENTS: “DON’T VOTE FOR PORK BARREL SCAM POLITICIANS IN 2016”

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago today appealed to some 2,000 students of the Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) in Batangas City, not to vote in 2016 for senators or congressmen involved in the pork barrel scam.

Santiago made the appeal during the awarding ceremony of the most outstanding students and student organizations of the LPU, where she served as guest speaker.

“We should not reelect any senators or congressmen running for reelection in 2016, if they are among those against whom the Ombudsman will file criminal charges for plunder or malversation of public funds in the Sandiganbayan,” the senator told the students.

“Of course, every person enjoys a presumption of innocence,” Santiago said. “But when the Ombudsman conducts the preliminary investigation, she goes over voluminous papers and other documents, as well as affidavits executed by eyewitnesses. She has to do this, because under the law, the Ombudsman who is the prosecutor in this case, has to prove what the law calls a prima facie case. The term prima facie is a Latin phrase which means at first sight, or on first appearance, but subject to further evidence or information. Hence, if the Ombudsman files a case against a reelectionist for plunder in the Sandiganbayan, this means that she has in her possession enough evidence to allow the trial court to rule in favor of the government.”

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MEDICAL LEADERSHIP

Keynote address at the opening ceremonies of the Annual Convention of the Philippine Psychiatric Association, Inc., at Edsa Shangri-la Hotel on 21 January 2014

Psychiatrists Should Lead Hospitals

Let me name some of the most famous medical centers in the world: Harvard Partners System, Mt. Sinai in New York, UCLA System, Georgetown/Medstar, and New York Presbyterian Hospital. All these medical centers have a common feature, in that their CEOs are all psychiatrists. This “new normal” indicates that psychiatrists make good leaders, and therefore psychiatric residence programs in our country should now provide the training necessary for the next generation of medical directors and CEOs.

According to a paper published only last November by the American Psychiatric Association, medical residents should be more exposed to leadership roles. This exposure should consist of three components: specialized curriculum, experiential learning in the form of a project, and mentorship by a physician leader.

Thus, medical schools should cultivate leadership skills as an important component of the psychiatric profession. According to an assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine, the mood of the leader should be characterized by what is called “resonance.” The mood of the psychiatrist affects his patient. For this reason, medical schools should promote the process of self-awareness and mood management. Medical schools should start training residents to become clinician leaders.

To understand this new call for psychiatric doctors to take the helm of change, we have to look back to how medicine has evolved. At first, doctors practiced so-called bedside medicine, and then progressed to so-called hospital medicine. After the 20th century, we are now faced with hospital service complexes with complicated hierarchical structures. The Philippines as a developing country faces problems within our healthcare system concerning economics and efficiency.

The strong movement toward medicalization has given rise to the rising costs of our national healthcare coverage. To help solve this problem, increased importance is now being given to such practices as: preventive medicine, surveillance medicine, and homecare treatments. We are besieged with numerous problems such as “funding constraints and demands for greater accountability for the safety, quality, and efficacy of healthcare.”

In the face of this ascending spiral of healthcare spending, the medical profession is compelled to pay proper attention to the task of developing individual leaders and new models of leadership within the profession. If we could properly train healthcare professionals in the area of medical leadership, we could eliminate hospital inefficiency. Thus, in the Philippines as in most other countries worldwide, we see and accept the need to develop leadership skills in medical students.

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NAVIGATING THE CRIMES OF THE PLUNDER MASTERMIND

Privilege speech on 4 December 2013

Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen of the Senate:

Mastermind of Plunder

It comes rarely in the life of the nation that a people, under the travails of developing country status, aided by providence, find it in themselves to rise above the morass of political corruption, and to build the architecture for a fresh and shining territory where people live free of the forces of darkness.

Today, the time has come. At last we stand at the very heart of the epic pork barrel corruption in the Congress, specially the Senate. Why are the proportions of corruption so epic in scale? How did the criminals manage to steal some P10 billion pesos of the people’s money in just ten years? Who is the mastermind?

Guided by faith in a just God and in the rule of law, dozens of whistleblowers have testified in writing and provided supporting documents to prove that the very heart of darkness is the leadership of the Senate itself. Thorough NBI investigation has led the Department of Justice to file formal charges of plunder against the first batch of suspects, led by no less than the Senate President at that time, Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile. The Ombudsman is conducting preliminary investigation, and has assured the public that justice will not be denied: the resolution will be issued by the end of this month.

Notably, the Ombudsman has admitted receiving a memorandum of over 200 pages pinpointingEnrile as the mastermind of plunder. That official memorandum validates the charge I aired in the latest hearing of the Blue Ribbon Committee, where I first made that very same accusation, based on the lawyer’s thought process of enlightened scepticism. If he smarted against the accusation, Enrile could have requested for an additional hearing where he could be personally present and interpellate Janet Napoles, who appears to be his BFF, or Best Friend Forever. But he chooses to stay away and keep silent, because he is immobilized by fear and humiliation.

Instead of presenting evidence to the public of his hypocritical protestations of innocence, Enrile once again chose to steer public attention to what he hopes will be a diversion: the lies and black propaganda hurled against me during the 1992 presidential campaign. This man, contrary to logic and common sense, hopes to evade criminal prosecution and public outrage over his plunder, by resurrecting campaign dirt against me which are over 21 years old! Dream on, old man, aka Tanda.

Enrile tried to portray me in the blackest terms. He pointedly ignored the fact that I am a laureate of the Asian Nobel Prize, the 1988 Magsaysay Award for government service. According to the official citation, the Award “recognizes her bold and moral leadership in cleaning up a graft-ridden government agency.” Media has noted that I am reportedly “the most awarded Filipino public official,” because I won such awards as TOYM, TOWNS, and U.P.’s most outstanding law alumnus. Enrile never reached these levels of professional recognition. Please feel free to compare my resume to his, since my biography appears in Wikipedia.

This was not only bringing parliamentary debate to the lowest level. It is a violation of every canon of civility and decency in public discourse. Parliamentary rules strictly forbid arguments ad hominem, but my attacker delivered an entire speech by appealing to personal prejudices rather than to reason; and by attacking my character rather than my assertion that he is the mastermind of the plunder. In fact, my attacker is guilty of violating the Senate Rules, Rule 34, Sec. 94: “No Senator, under any circumstances, shall use offensive or improper language against another Senator or against any public institution.” (Emphasis added). Under Rule 34, he has committed the offense of “unparliamentary acts and language,” and I shall charge him with disorderly behaviour with the Ethics or the Rules Committee, punishable by suspension for 60 days.

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