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PARADIGM FOR THE HAPPY LIFE

31 Mar

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.

The first source of evil in Philippine society is self-interest. Every day, many people pursue their self-interest at the expense of others. However, self-interest becomes a moral evil when selfish politicians make our people suffer in hunger and poverty. Another major source of evil lies in “a failure in moral imagination.” There are many psychopaths in Congress, but they are unable to imagine the sufferings that they cause on millions of Filipinos who are poor. Let me give you one example.

In the present pork barrel scandal, the most guilty are not only the senators and representatives, but also the executive officers of the so-called implementing agencies, which could be a department, an agency, or a local government unit. Under the Government Procurement Reform Act, the choice of the NGO is subject to competitive bidding or through negotiated procurement. As we are beginning to see in the publicly televised proceedings of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, the problem arose because the senator or the congressman insisted to the head of the implementing agency that the service or supply contract should be given to the legislator’s chosen supplier or contractor, from whom the legislator got a kickback of as high as 50%.

The executive officers of many of these implementing agencies, such as the Technology Research Center (TRC), National Agribusiness Corporation (NABCOR), and Muslim Youth Foundation appear to be equally guilty of the crime of plunder or malversation committed by the lawmaker who exerted pressure to give a contract to one specific supplier or contractor. Accordingly, I shall file a resolution for the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to expand the scope of its present inquiry on the pork barrel scam, so as to include executive officers of implementing agencies. These officers should be required to explain the criteria that they applied, in choosing the corrupt NGOs that became the ultimate beneficiaries of the pork barrel.

The implementing agency should never have allowed the corrupt politicians to exert pressure in favor of NGOs. After all, NGOs are supposed to have their own funds from non-governmental sources, such as international donors, international financing institutions, corporate donors, etc. At present, there appears to be no government agency that monitors the flow of public funds to hundreds of NGOs, legitimate or illegitimate. They could be political NGOs, quasi-NGOs (QUANGOs), NGOs run by socialites, or NGOs run by wives of business tycoons.

It is the implementing agency who chose the corrupt NGOs. But these implementing agencies were not even created by Congress. Instead, many are subsidiary corporations of existing departments or government-owned corporations created by mere administrative orders or created through the SEC. According to former budget secretary Benjamin Diokno, the proliferation of implementing agencies is highly anomalous, because some of them receive more funds than the legitimately created agencies of government.

We have to act. First, we need to establish the criminal liability of their past and present executives. Then we should recover the misappropriated funds. And then we should throw into jail the liable public officials. After we have accomplished these measures, it follows that the guilty implementing agencies involved in the pork barrel scandal should be abolished or reformed.

How were the NGOs able to capture either the Senate or the conference committee on the budget drawn from the two chambers of Congress? The answer is not so simple. In the past, the COA required government agencies to make a full liquidation of public funds prior to any future releases of their funding. But in last year’s budget, the requirement of full liquidation was reduced to merely 70%. Who inserted this corrupt provision? Was it the Senate finance committee, or was it the bicameral conference committee on the budget? In any event, this provision was “administratively” vetoed by President Aquino, leaving its implementation unclear. This question should be answered by the DBM secretary.

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

17 Mar

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”

8 Mar

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

22 Jan

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

5 Dec

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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PORK BARREL SCAM: CRIME OF THE MILLENIUM

10 Sep

This is an excerpt of Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago’s keynote speech at the 4th National Young Hoteliers and Restauranteurs Power Conference organized by De La Salle University-Dasmariñas last 9 September 2013at the SMX Convention Center, SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City

I have taken the position that pork barrel should be abolished for all members of Congress.  It should not be left to the individual senator or representative to waive his pork barrel, because the money will simply go either to his colleagues, or to other corrupt bureaucrats.  Hence, it is necessary not only to waive the pork barrel, but also to abolish the entire pork barrel system.  The Supreme Court in the 1994 case of Philconsa v. Enriquez upheld the constitutionality of the pork barrel, at that time called the Countrywide Development Fund.  As a student of constitutional law,I believe that that it is time for the Supreme Court to revisit this problem.  We have had too many years of rapacious experience with pork barrel abuses to continue to ignore that corruption is embedded in the system.

Some of the defenders of pork barrel claim that if administered properly, it will result in distributive justice, meaning that money will go to the poor who most urgently need it.  That was the dream.  But as it turned out, the dream has been exploded by the money culture of corrupt politicians.  I hope the Supreme Court will take heed of the words of wisdom from Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., who said in one of his famous aphorisms: “The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience.”

Today, people throughout the archipelago, cutting across the various economic classes, are rising in colossal outrage against the pork barrel sinkhole which has swallowed up P10billion of taxpayers’ money.  It now appears that at least three senators, not to speak of over 20 representatives, have been giving their pork barrel funds, not to the government departments as directed by law; but to non-government organizations (NGOs) that do not exist.

My humble opinion on the controversy whether pork barrel can be given to NGOs is that the budget law allows public funds to be transferred to NGOs.  However, the procedure provided by law has been deliberately ignored, and therefore transfer of public funds to NGOs has been illegal, for the following reasons:

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CLOSING THE GENDER GAP; AND STOPPING POLITICAL DYNASTIES

4 Mar

 

Keynote speech at Go Negosyo’s 5th Filipina Entrepreneurship Summit held on 1 March 2013 at the World Trade Center, Pasay City

I am happy to join you in this initial celebration of March as International Women’s Month.  According to the Philippine Commission on Women, the theme for the 2013 Women’s Month celebration is – “Kababaihan: Gabay sa Pagtutulak ng Tuwid na Daan.”

My speech will deal with three topics: the gender gap between men and women; the plight of female entrepreneurs; and the proliferation of political dynasties.

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THE TUBBATAHA DISASTER; AND WEAPONIZING SOCIAL MEDIA

13 Feb

Speech delivered at the UP Manila on 12 February 2013, at the symposium sponsored by the University Student Council

I have such a high opinion of the Student Council of the University of thePhilippines, my own alma mater, that I will have to beg your indulgence in addressing myself to two topics of national importance: the Tubbataha disaster; and weaponizing social media for the ongoing political campaign.

The Tubbataha Disaster

The Tubbataha Reef in Philippine territory has been proclaimed a UN World Heritage Site.  It is home to a spectacular, breathtaking panorama of marine life consisting of:

  • 600 species of fish
  • 360 species of corals
  • 11 species of sharks
  • 13 species of dolphins and whales, and
  • 100 species of birds and sea turtles

This magical spot within Philippine territory is governed by R.A. No. 10067, or the Tubbataha Reef Park Act of 2009.

Last month, on January 17, the USS Guardian, a US Navy minesweeper passed by this marine sanctuary.  It is said that park rangers radioed the ship with the advice that it was nearing the Reef.  However, the ship captain allegedly insisted that the park rangers should instead raise their complaint with the US embassy.

According to the official statement of the Tubbataha Management Office, the US ship did not have a permit to enter the park, which is a marine protected area.  It was also found that the vessel did not inform the marine park rangers of its presence and situation.  When the rangers informed the Americans of their violations and announced the intention of the rangers to board the vessels, the radio contact was unanswered and the boarding protocol was aborted, specially since the Filipinos saw the Americans taking positions armed with weapons.

Under Philippine law, the American ship violated the provisions on unauthorized entry, damages to the Reef, nonpayment of conservation fees, destroying and disturbing resources, and obstruction of law-enforcement officers.

The American vessel directly caused environmental disaster over an area of some 4,000 square meters, which is the size of 10 basketball courts.  Under Philippine law, the US Navy has the duty to pay a fine of $300, or some P12,000 per square meter, plus another $300 per square meter for rehabilitation efforts.

The American crew were transferred to support vessels.  But the warship, which is 68 meters long, is still there.  Under the US Navy salvage operation plan, the ship will eventually be broken down into pieces and taken away.  But while it is there, it will continue to destroy marine life.

It was an unspeakable crime to inflict such damage on the Reef.  The only defense of the Americans is that they allegedly used a faulty map that misplaced the location of the Reef.  In other words, the Americans seem to admit that they were sloppy with their map, and that they were arrogant with the Filipino park rangers whose advice they disregarded.

On February 4, the American ambassador reiterated regrets over the incident and assured our foreign affairs secretary that the United States will provide appropriate compensation.  However, as a student of international law, I find that the statement issued by the US ambassador is disturbing, and amounts to doublespeak.  The statement calls the Tubbataha event an “accident.”  The word “accident” implies that the act of the US ship involved no negligence or fault.  Furthermore, the US government has offered other forms of assistance.  Thus, in my view, the statement issued by the US embassy makes American compensation and other activities look like foreign assistance, for which we Filipinos are expected to be grateful!

In other words, I am concerned that the American offer of compensation is made to appear, not as a dictate of legal obligation under international law, but as an indulgence in American magnanimity.  If the Philippine government resorts to the legal process to demand compensation, on record the Americans could have evaded any admission of guilt.  Instead, the Americans could oppose any complaint in an international law tribunal, by raising the defense of sovereign immunity from suit.

Allow me to make a simple analysis of the international law dimensions of the Tubbataha event.  There is no question that Tubbataha is part of Philippine territory, protected not only by Philippine law, but also by the UN declaration that it is a World Heritage Site.  When the American warship ran aground in the Reef, the US government committed what international law calls an “internationally wrongful act.”  As such, the Tubbataha event is a violation of the international law codified under the topic of “Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts” issued by the International Law Commission.

Under this topic, the Tubbataha event is covered by at least two articles.  Under Article 1: “Every internationally wrongful act of a State entails the international responsibility of that State.”

Under Article 2: “There is an internationally wrongful act of a State when conduct consisting of an action or omission: (a) Is attributable to the State under international law; and (b) Constitutes a breach of an international obligation of the State.”  Therefore, as provided by the International Law Commission, under the principle of attribution, the conduct of the officials and personnel of the USS Guardian is considered as an act of the US government under international law, and consequently, the US government bears responsibility.

The International Law Commission is one authority.  Let me state another authority: Sir Ian Brownlie, Oxford professor emeritus of public international law.  The latest seventh edition of his famous book, Principles of Public International Law, was published in 2008.  By 2009, Prof. Brownlie had passed away and the eighth edition of his book was issued by Professor James Crawford in 2012.

According to Brownlie: “In principle, an act or omission which is on its face a breach of legal obligation gives rise to responsibility in international law. . . The practice of states and jurisprudence of arbitral tribunals and the International Court have followed the theory of objective responsibility as a general principle.”  What this means is that under the principle of objective responsibility, a breach of international obligation occurs by result alone, even in the absence of negligence or fault.

Let me go on to my third authority, the time-honored decision in the 1927 case of Chorzow Factory.  In its decision, the Permanent Court of International Justice said: “It is a principle of international law that the breach of an international engagement involves an obligation to make reparation in an adequate form.  Reparation therefore is the indispensable complement of a failure to apply a convention. . . . It is a principle of international law . . . that any breach of an engagement involves an obligation to make reparation.”

Finally, let me cite one more authority: the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement, Article 2 on “Respect for Law.”  Article 2 provides: “It is the duty of the US personnel to respect the laws of the Republic of the Philippines . . . The government of the United States shall take all measures within its authority to ensure that this is done.”

In sum, international law is clear that whether or not there was negligence or fault on the part of the US warship, under the principle of state responsibility, the US government is responsible for the partial destruction of Tubbataha Reef, which some say will need 250 years to be fully restored.  Under the principle of objective responsibility, the basic test is whether there has been a breach of international obligation.  The US has accepted that it has committed such a breach.  Therefore, the US government should stop referring to the Tubbataha event as an “accident.”  Instead, the Tubattaha event should be called a “breach of international obligation.”

Weaponizing Social Media

The campaign period has begun.  All kinds of characters want to run for public office.  We, the 52 million Filipino voters, are bored with their antics.  We are aghast at their resumes.  Some of them are not even high school graduates.  They resort to all kinds of cheap gimmickry, hoping to provide entertainment for free.  They should not be called candidates; they should be called clowns.

In the Philippines, politics is dominated by two kinds of clowns: rich clowns; and poor clowns hoping to become rich.  Fortunately, we are at the cusp of a new ominous wave of change in the political beach.   This wave is called the social media.  In the Philippines, nobody knows how to control or manage social media.  Rich clowns used to bribe press and broadcast journalists so that they could gain added illegal advantage over their competitors.  But now, the rich clowns are beginning to discover that it is not possible to bribe the leaders, much less, all the netizens in cyberspace.

If the first Edsa revolution was a “Xerox revolution”, and if Edsa 2 was a “text revolution”, then the next revolution against political corruption should be called the “Net revolution”.

The ideal UP student always gives the world a shock.  I ask each one of you to give the mindless political candidates a shock, by demoting TV, which used to be the king of political advertising, and instead elevating as political campaign weapons the tablet and the smart phone.

In terms of social network use, the Philippines is ranked among the top countries.  This could be the precursor of the participatory democracy of the future.  Facebook is the premier social media service in the world.  Twitter is an online social networking and micro-blogging service.  YouTube provides a forum for the distribution of video content, particularly eyewitness features of political protests.  Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are the so-called big three social media services.  These services enable large numbers of people to be easily and inexpensively contacted via a variety of services.

Social media lowers traditional socio-economic barriers to commanding the spotlight.  The power of the rich politicians becomes more porous and the political warlords have less control.  It has been said that text messaging, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and the Internet have given rise to a reservoir of political energy.  Digital technologies enforce the formation and activities of civil society groups: mobs, movements, and civil society organizations.

Challenge to UP Students

The ideal UP student is not interesting per se.  What is interesting is what the ideal student does with his life after graduation from UP.  As a rule, any UP graduate will always be characterized by academic excellence and by the courage to take social justice to the next level.  If you are to serve your nation, I am here to testify that it will be a rough, contentious, and spirit-crushing journey.

But as a true UP graduate, I insist that I have a role to perform.  This role is to stand as one of gazillion bricks in the cathedral of governance.  No one will remember me if I suddenly drop dead tomorrow.  But generations after you and me, would be able to put behind them the culture of corruption, and build a new shining nation with leaders who are neither dazzled by the material world, nor confused about their purpose in life.

Hence, I have risen from my sickbed to issue you this challenge: For God’s sake, save this country.  Use social media during this three-month campaign period to ensure that our people shall be led to choose deserving national leaders.  Allow me to make some recommendations on how to weaponize social media against the corrupt, the clueless, and the clowns.  I am paraphrasing from an article in the Net issued by Craft Media Digital and written by Brian Donahue.

  • Weaponize social media during the campaign by providing content that not only informs, but also entertains and motivates.  You need to develop skills in creative design, emotionally riveting visuals, and content that inspires action.  We can not weaponize by simply issuing a statement, a newsletter, or a Facebook post.  We need to enlist the work of more graphic designers, creative writers, videographers, and musicians.
  • Weaponize social media during the campaign by embracing targeted messaging strategies.  You cannot rely on single-issue national messaging.  You have to send custom messages to specific audiences online.  It is said that in today’s digital age, data is the most precious commodity.  Hook up with math students in the Diliman campus.  Ask our math scholars to build algorithms for matching data.  This will develop demographic models that will help you to identify valuable voter behavior.  For example, refer to Facebook OpenGraph.
  • Weaponize social media during the political campaign by delivering content so engaging that individual netizens will be motivated to share it.  I see in the current campaign that the most egregious error of the candidates is that they treat social media as if it were TV or radio, where they simply transfer information to the masses.  The strength of the web is information sharing among social netizens.
  • Weaponize social media in the political campaign by accepting that the future of political warfare will take place online.  For example, a comparative database that provides information on each candidate’s age, residence, highest academic degree, and highest professional achievement, would be a sufficient counterbalance to the tendency of the low middle-class voter to sell his vote or to vote for the cute personality.

Social media should be used as a showcase for intangible movement or energy, and a medium of information to motivate people to vote for or against a particular candidate.

Conclusion

I share one unbreakable linkage with you.  At one time I was your age and like all UP students, I wanted to change the world.  Maybe I have.  But the world also changed  me.  Now I am old enough to have seen the world and have all my illusions shattered.  Am I disillusioned?  No, because as the poet said:

      Though much is taken, much abides; and though

      We are not now that strength which in old days

      Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;

      One equal temper of heroic hearts,

      Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will

      To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

-o0o-

PROPOSED CHARTER CHANGE

14 Jan

Miriam at CEU

Speech at the Charter Change Symposium sponsored by the Social Sciences Society of Centro Escolar University, 11 January 2013

An important part of the menu of reflections society must occasionally undertake concerns the need to re-evaluate the basic terms of our social contract codified in our Constitution.  This meditation on social foundations assumes greater importance given that about half of our population today and, to be sure, the overwhelming members of the audience today – did not have the opportunity to ratify the current Constitution when it was submitted to the people in 1987.

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THE PROBLEM WITH ELECTIONS

23 Nov

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago’s speech at the Far Eastern University Central Student Organization lecture series on 22 November 2012

Let me summarize the problem with Philippine elections:  Of the 50 million voters who will troop to the polls in May next year, the greater majority are not intelligent, they are not educated for voting, and the candidates they choose are not educated for serving.  This problem is the result of the fact that our Constitution provides that no literacy requirement shall be imposed on voters.  Furthermore, although the Constitution provides that a senator should be literate in that he should be able to read and write, the same Constitution does not require any educational attainment on the part of any candidate.

As I shall show a few minutes later, this is all very strange.  Under the Police Act, no person can be appointed a policeman, unless he has a college degree.  But any person can become president, vice-president, senator, or congressman of the country even without a college degree!

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