Urges youth to end 'cycle of corruption'
MANILA - Senator Miriam Santiago urged university students to serve as future leaders of the country and help end the "cycle of corruption."
In offering leadership advice to students gathered at the International Youth Leadership Conference organized by student organization AIESEC, Santiago said that officials run for public office not to serve but to steal, largely to pay off debts incurred during the campaign.
She alluded to senators who allegedly received kickbacks from the pork barrel scam by referring to the nicknames supposedly given to them by key players of the scam.
"Kaya dapat there should be an end to this cycle. That end can only start with you. Kung ayaw niyo [na] palagi na lang corrupt ang sistema natin, kailangan kayo ang maging leader kasi wala nang pag-asa itong mga matatanda na ito, mga sexy, mga pogi," Santiago said.
Santiago told the youth to develop good communication skills, relationships, be visionaries, and learn to adapt or adjust leadership to the requirements of a situation.
In her typical Santiago-fashion, she said the next president of the country should just challenge the corrupt to a fistfight, if only to adjust to the situation at hand.
"Halimbawa nakita na natin lahat ng mga senador at mga congressman, puro gago 'to. Nakaw nang nakaw ng pera ng gobyerno. Pagkatapos 'pag sinumbong sila, galit pa sila. Sa situational leadership na 'yan, dapat ang presidente puntahan na sila isa-isa itong mga senador at hamunin na lang niya ng suntukan. Hindi sila makuha sa pakiusap e," she said.
Santiago said leaders achieve world-class status through hard work, experience and learning, blasting "many members of Congress" who are not willing to learn.
"Kaya ganyan ang Kongreso natin dahil 'yung mga kasapi doon, hindi nila alam ang hard work, experience and learning. Any person who is educable--that's the problem, many members of Congress are not educable--and willing to study and model the best can develop these world-class leadership skills," she said.
'PRESIDENTIAL BETS MUST BE COLLEGE GRADS'
Speaking to reporters later, Santiago said she would like to introduce an amendment to the Constitution that would require candidates running for national positions to be at least college graduates.
"Right now, in our statute books, people who apply to become policemen must be college graduates. There is no such provision for a presidential candidate so anyone, any idiot can run for president and possibly poll a certain number of votes among his fellow idiots," she said.
She added that she would also want that the prohibition against political dynasties be "self-enforcing," noting that Congress has not heeded the Constitutional call to pass a law against political dynasties.
WARNING ON 'CHA-CHA'
But she cautioned that current proposals to change the economic provisions would also open the possibility of changing other parts of the charter.
"Once you decide to change the Constitution, you cannot by law limit the change or the amendment of the Constitution to just one particular point. There are opinions of the Supreme Court ruling that once Congress has made a decision to open the charter to change it cannot limit what a constitutional convention or a constituent assembly can do. You cannot say, 'Just limit it to economic provisions,'" she told reporters.
Santiago, chair of the Senate committee on constitutional amendments and revision of codes, is against amending the economic provisions for the sake of change.
She pointed out that many countries have achieved economic progress even without allowing foreigners to own corporations and buy land.