OLONGAPO CITY - Senator Miriam Santiago called on authorities not to give special treatment to the three senators charged by the Ombudsman in the event that the plunder case is filed against them before the Sandiganbayan for their alleged role in the pork barrel scam.
Speaking to reporters, Santiago said Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, and Bong Revilla should be placed in a regular detention cell if a warrant of arrest is issued against them.
She also said that the senators should not be allowed to post bail and that the evidence against them should be presumed to be strong after the Office of the Ombudsman found probable cause to charge them with plunder.
“Therefore, they should be detained while they are undergoing hearing at huwag sila i-detain sa mga airconditioned na mga palasyo o i-house arrest kasi makikita ng tao na may diperensya pala kung mahirap ka at makapangyarihan ka,” Santiago told reporters after delivering the commencement speech at Gordon College.
Santiago also said that once the information is filed before the Sandiganbayan, the three senators would be suspended automatically, pointing out a provision in the Anti-Plunder Act mandating so.
In her commencement speech, Santiago blasted her colleagues being implicated in the scam and praised the Ombudsman for issuing a resolution charging three senators for plunder.
“’Yung mga gago sa Senado, wala nang ginawa kundi magnakaw nang magnakaw ng pera sa gobyerno,” she said as the audience cheered.
She called on the Ombudsman to also investigate other senators being tagged by whistleblowers.
“Dapat lamang na sabihin pa ng Ombudsman sino pa ang ibang mga senador dahil ang mga whistleblowers ay pinangalanan hindi lang ang tatlong ‘to kundi ang iba pang mga senador pagkatapos niyan siguro sa tingin ko lang, baka mahati ang Senado ninyo. Ganung klase ang hinahalal ng mga hindi nag-graduate sa Gordon College,” she said.
If plunder cases are filed against her other colleagues as well, she expects more seats to be vacant in the Senate.
“Isipin natin kung paano tayo makakakuha ng trabaho. E di tanggalin natin ang kalahati ng senador sa Senado, may dose na kaagad na bakante,” she said to the delight of her audience.
But she has the most biting remarks reserved for her archenemy Enrile.
“Ang isa former senate president pa. Biro mo ‘yun. At inaamin ng asawa niya, 38 ang girlfriends niya. Kaya nagnakaw ng ganyan, limpak limpak na pera. Biro mo 38 ang kerida niya. Samantalang ako, iisa ang asawa ko hanggang ngayon,” she said, challenging Enrile to a fistfight.
“Hinamon ko siya dalawang beses dahil pareho kaming graduate sa UP… mag-debate tayo sa UP kung gusto mo, ayaw niya. Ngayon hinahamon ko na naman siya, suntukan tayo kung gusto mo,” she said.
Santiago urged the graduates to exercise their right to suffrage seriously and vote for candidates who will do what is “best for the community” and for their “ego.”
“That is why I come to Gordon College. I come to challenge you, seize this opportunity, seize this moment, stop corruption now. Idemanda din ang iba pang senador,” she said.
She also delivered a punch line intended for the crooked.
“Hindi ba ang mga gadget kapag nagloko namamatay? Dapat ganyan din ang mga pulitikong nanloloko, namamatay din.”