Category Archives: Speech



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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Senate hearing 1


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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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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