MANILA, Philippines - Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago sees nothing wrong with President Benigno Aquino III buying an expensive car.
"If he just bought his car with his own savings, I don't see anything wrong with it," she said.
She warned, however, of a provision in the Civil Code stating that if the country is facing a national emergency, people are prohibited from flaunting their wealth.
The important thing, she said, is that the Porsche was not a gift from anyone doing business with the President.
"It's just like buying an expensive girlfriend. It's no business of the public if you want a trophy girlfriend for example or a trophy wife," Santiago said.
"So imagine if you are a president and there is no girlfriend to share your life with. You can buy a sexy car," she added.
"What am I saying?" Santiago said, bursting into laughter.
"No, what I am saying is you can channel your sexual energies," she said further, still laughing, "in the company of a car."
Kidding aside, Santiago reiterated that the President is entitled to buy his own car.
"I think he has such a lonely life. When he was here in the Senate, I noticed that he was a very reserved person, he does not take very easily to sharing his thoughts in public," she said. "So if he wants a Porsche for company, I don't think I'd begrudge him."
‘PNoy should have own food taster’
Santiago also warned Aquino III to watch the people around him closely.
She said the President is like his mother, former President Corazon Aquino, who chooses the people around him in good faith.
"The dangerous question is, who is going to broil the water? Who is going to play villain?" Santiago told reporters.
Santiago noted that Aquino is not a strong leader of the Liberal Party, with no specific group within the party associated with him. The result: "There will always be pushing and shoving, backbiting, or even actual killing to be able to go near the President or earn brownie points."
"For as long as she does not make it clear which group is his confidante, these groups will always try like tectonic plates to push each other out of competition. That's what we are witnessing now," Santiago added. "They're all playing sycophants."
The senator, who ran with Aquino's rival Senator Manuel Villar in the 2010 elections, said people around the President may mistake his equanimity as indecisiveness and run things behind his back.
Asked what her advice for President is, Santiago said, "He should have a food taster."
Yet to recover from illness
Santiago said she will be attending Senate sessions and attending committee hearings on a part-time basis.
In an interview with the Senate media, Santiago said she still has to take some rest because of hypothyroidism, which has kept her on sick leave since session opened in July.
However, she said she's had a wonderful time at home.
"I was like a kept woman. I did not go out to work for a living. I just stay home, and by the time that I expect my husband to return, I would shower myself with perfume," she said, laughing. "I rather like that kind of life."