Miriam to Gloria: Hire better lawyers


Posted at Nov 23 2011 06:51 PM | Updated as of Nov 24 2011 07:47 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago on Wednesday said former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo needs good, competent lawyers if she hopes to win her electoral sabotage case before the Pasay Regional Trial Court.

Speaking to reporters, Santiago said Arroyo's motion asking the Supreme Court to nullify the joint Department of Justice (DOJ)-Commission on Elections (Comelec) poll fraud investigation and all its proceedings, including the subsequent filing of electoral sabotage charges against her, would not prosper.

The senator earlier noted the Comelec is an independent agency that could go into joint partnership with the DOJ in the trial and prosecution of electoral cases.

"[Arroyo] has to hire better lawyers, because as I told you a few days ago, I am certain that the Supreme Court will throw out the request for a TRO on the DOJ-Comelec panel because the reasoning was, in my view, not proper and very weak in legal terms," she said.

On the other hand, Santiago said the same can be said for Malacañang. The senator earlier questioned why the electoral sabotage case was filed before a regional trial court instead of the Sandiganbayan.

"The same should go also for the Palace. I think that both sides don’t have the benefit of good, competent lawyers. A legal team ideally must consist of an academician who is up-to-date with all the latest developments in case law or jurisprudence, plus an actual trial practitioner, yung nag-practice talaga," she said.

Santiago rebuffed calls by some lawmakers that Arroyo resign as congresswoman after she was sued for electoral sabotage.

She also said appointing Arroyo's son, Ang Galing Pinoy party-list Rep. Mikey Arroyo, as caretaker of the Pampanga 2nd District would not set a good precedent since "we already have an anti-political dynasty provision in our Constitution."

Santiago said Arroyo could be compelled to leave if an ethics case is filed against her. "Then it becomes her personal decision. She should be the best judge of whether she is physically or mentally fit, or whether she still has the same enthusiasm for public service," she said.