Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago
MANILA -- Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago again did not mince words when she attended the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on Thursday and grilled Ruby Tuason on her knowledge about the multi-billion pork barrel scam.
Tuason, a socialite and former social secretary of ex-President Joseph "Erap" Estrada, has admitted in her affidavit that she personally delivered pork barrel kickbacks to Senator Jinggoy Estrada and Senator Juan Ponce Enrile's former chief of staff, Atty. Jessica "Gigi" Reyes.
Before she started her interpellation of Tuason, Santiago criticized her fellow senators who were absent in the hearing, noting that she even had to "rise from [her] death bed" just to attend the probe.
She then went on to say that Tuason, the latest person to spill the beans on the pork barrel scam, is the "perfect state witness" for the case. She described her testimony as "bull's eye" evidence.
While she grilled Tuason, she also took a potshot at his political nemesis, Enrile.
Santiago again insinuated that Enrile and Reyes had an affair. She questioned why the former Senate President had to pick up Reyes from restaurants where the latter met with Tuason.
She also lectured about the mere denial of the senators implicated in the scam being an "inherently weak defense" and "if uncorroborated, regresses to blatant impotence."
She then quipped, "Impotent na, blatant pa. Lalo na kung matanda na," obviously pertaining to Enrile, whom she has called "Tanda."
Here are Santiago's memorable quotes from the Senate hearing on Thursday:
'I rose from my death bed'
"Mr. Chairman (Teofisto "TG" Guingona III), I feel very lonely today because look at all the vacant seats here right in front of us. The Senate is composed of 24 senators; there are only 9 senators today. Why are they not here in one of the most significant hearings on the PDAF scam -- the PDAF scam possibly the worst financial scandal in Philippine politics in its entire history. Why are they not here? Did someone tell them or pay them not to appear here? Is that what a senator is supposed to do?"
"I rose from my death bed, from my sick bed. I think of it as my death bed because I never rise there anymore. After this, I will have to stay in my sick bed for at least 2 days."
'Bulls eye' evidence
"You (Tuason) are presenting direct evidence. You're an eye witness. Is there anything wrong with your 5 senses? Eyes, ears, nose and touch? (Tuason says no) No, you are in full possession of your 5 senses. This is important because the Rules of Court define a witness as any person who can perceive with her 5 senses and perceiving can make known her perception to others. So you're a perfect witness. You're a competent witness. You're an intelligent witness."
"This is categorical eye-witness evidence. Eye-witness evidence does not always need corroboration for the instruction of those who have been discussing the law as if they know it. You're an eye witness, that is in the words of the secretary of justice 'slam dunk' evidence. Or in my own words that is bull's eye dahil nakita mo mismo eh."
'Impotent na, blatant pa, lalo na....'
"For your education, please allow me to quote certain recent decisions of the Supreme Court para matapos na itong debate sa dyaryo na kung pakinggan mo lang parang alam na alam nila ang batas. hindi ganun yun eh... The court tells us what [the law] means."
"'Denial is an inherently weak defense and has always been viewed upon with disfavor by the courts due to the ease with which it can be concocted, as in this case. Verily, mere denial, unsubstantiated by clear and convincing evidence is negative self-serving evidence which cannot be given greater evidentiary weight than the testimony of the complaining witness who testified on affirmative matters.' People v. Monticalvo, decided in 2013..."
"...This is my favorite: 'Denial, like alibi, as an exonerating justification, is inherently weak and if uncorroborated, regresses to blatant impotence.' Blatant impotence. Impotent na, blatant pa. Lalo na kung matanda na."
"Bakit niya susunduin ang chief of staff niya? Eh di ibig sabihin asawa niya o kerida niya, hindi ba? Eh bakit mo sunduin ang chief of staff mo? Ang chief of staff mo utusan mo. A senator says 'go there, come here, bring me this thing.' I'm not going to pick up my chief of staff wherever she is. And it would be strange, people would suspect a relationship between me and my chief of staff. So why is this man who is already 90 years old picking up somebody who is young enough to be his daughter. I would like to know."
"Atty. Gigi Reyes lives in Number 2, Yakan Street, La Vista, Quezon City. I live in 6, Bagobo Street but those 2 streets are parallel to each other. And my guards are in the habit of saying the 'Enrile house' when they point to that direction [Gigi's house]. I was shocked when I heard them talking like that. I can call any of them at any time."
"Nagpapanggap-panggapan siya na wala siyang pakealam dun sa pinag-uusapan ninyo. Kasi wala kang nakikita na overt act niya. Wala. Ngayon, I want you to know na kung wala siyang kibo, that still is incriminatory because under the Civil Code of the Philippines, silence means consent. Eh alam niya ang pinag-uusapan niyo eh. Bakit niya susunduin dun?"
"Kung ikaw ang boyfriend. Hindi ka ba magtatanong 'Anong gagawin mo dun? Susunduin kita mamayang ganito. Sinong kausap mo dun?' Diba ganun yun? That's only natural. People who are facing Valentine's Day know that that is the SOP (standard operating procedure). Sabihin mo lang na 'O, magkita na lang tayo mamaya.' Hindi na magtanong kung sino ang kausap mo, tungkol san ang usapan niyo? Lalo na kung malapit kayo sa isa't-isa in an emotional way."