Ex-Senate president cites PNoy's support for Miriam's election to ICC
MANILA, Philippines - Former Senate President Ernesto Maceda said Saturday he doesn't think Sen. Miriam Santiago's almost daily tongue-lashing at the prosecution panel signals her "bias" toward Chief Justice Renato Corona in the impeachment trial.
Maceda said, at the moment, he doesn't think Santiago will even vote for Corona.
"It is not fair to say at this time that Miriam is definitely for Corona. In my speculative list of people, I do not put her as voting for Corona," he said in a phone interview with radio dzMM on Saturday.
Maceda cited one reason: Santiago is thankful to Corona's nemesis, President Benigno Aquino III, for nominating her to the International Criminal Court (ICC), where she now sits as a judge, the first Filipino and first Asian from a developing country.
"Malaki ang utang na loob nya kay Noynoy. Kung hindi dahil kay Noynoy, hindi sya mae-elect sa International Court of Justice. That will weigh also on her decision so 'di natin alam at the time of voting where she will go," explained the former Senate president.
Last week's impeachment trial was marked by heavy drama, with Santiago verbally lashing at private prosecutor Vitaliano Aguirre after the latter covered his ears while the lady senator gave the prosecution a mouthful for its sudden decision to substantially rest its case against Corona and withdraw 5 articles of impeachment.
Santiago even called the prosecution names, including the offensive word, "gago." The word was stricken off the record upon request of House prosecutor Rodolfo Fariñas.
Clarifying that he is not defending Santiago's behavior, Maceda said her manner of talking has been that way ever since.
He said he worked with Santiago for six years and senators were used to her "style."
"Hindi ko dinedepensahan si Sen. Miriam. Ang masasabi ko lang, nakasama ko na 'yan ng anim na taon, 'yong boses ni Miriam, 'yong style ng pagsasalita nyan, 'yan ay natural nya.
"Maski kaming mga senador, 'di na namin sya pinapansin o kino-correct."
Maceda also said that it is not the manner of speaking that is important, but the substance.
"Let us not lose sight. What we should talk about more is the substance of what is being delivered. And I think nobody will say that Miriam is not talking sense when it comes to her points. She is also contributing that way to the trial," he said.
Asked whether the Senate has a disciplinary system for any misbehavior, Maceda said, "If you go beyond, whatever you say is stricken off the record."
He said it has always been that every senator is given "all the leeway and freedom" to say what he or she wants to say.