MANILA - Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile on Wednesday made a vicious attack against his political nemesis, Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, saying that the latter was cuckoo and an obsessive hater.
In his privilege speech, Enrile said the source of Santiago's "deep seated animosity" arose from two events: when he opposed Santiago's confirmation as agrarian reform secretary under President Cory Aquino and when he refused to include her in the Senate majority twice.
He also dug up the issue of Santiago's low Bar exam score, claiming the latter only got a grade of 76.
He said he got the information after he questioned Santiago during her confirmation hearing for the agrarian reform post before the Commission on Appointments during the Cory Aquino administration.
"Tinanong ko po sa kanya - kayo po ay tinatawag na cum laude sa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas. Ano po ba ang nakuha niyong grado sa inyong Bar examination? She replied that she got a grade of 76. Sitenta'y-sais porsiyento po ang kanyang grado sa Bar examination. That meant that she obtained low grades in all her Bar subjects. And I remember, natatandaan ko po, that she got a grade of 56 in Ethics, the easiest Bar examination subject. Singkwenta'y-sais porsiyento po sa ethics. Kaya naintindihan ko na kung bakit hindi niya sinusunod ang rules of ethics," he said.
Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago earlier confirmed that she did not top the 1969 Bar Exams but said she resents Enrile's raising of the issue to deflect attention from the Senate's excess budget.
Speaking to ANC's Headstart last January, the lawmaker said she was in love when she took the Bar. She also said she was rebelling against her father for not allowing her to go on a scholarship to Russia. https://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/01/17/13/miriam-admits-i-almost-flunked-bar
"Sasagutin ko ang tanong mo - I almost flunked the Bar? That's right because I fell in love. I never denied it. I never passed myself off as topping the Bar. What I am saying is I passed the Bar," she said.
A report on the University of the Philippines Vanguard's website said Santiago got a 78% average grade in the Bar. Santiago is a sponsor of the UP ROTC Unit.
Santiago said she had wanted to go on a scholarship to Russia right after finishing her law degree at the University of the Philippines Diliman but her father, district trial judge Benjamin A. Defensor, said no.
"That was my form of rebellion to my father. Well, I studied but I also found the questions completely unintelligible. Anong pinagtatanong nito? What is this guy thinking of?" she said.
She also recalled the story of her roommate who said: "Itong si Miriam, Bar exam time nagde-date."
The senator said she resented Enrile's bringing up of the issue amid her call for a Commission on Audit probe on the Senate's savings. This is after Enrile gave out P1.6 million additional maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) funds to 18 senators but not to Santiago and 3 other colleagues.
"That's personal. Ano reklamo niya that I did not top the Bar? He's making a personal accusation against me. Ano relasyon niyan dito sa pera?" Santiago asked.
"Kung di ba malisyoso yung tao na yun pati yun isasama niya sa debate? Ang debate tungkol sa P2 million na rinegalo niya sa mga senador. Bakit dadalhin niya kung saan saan? I am very familiar with that because I was best debater in the UP College of Law," she added.