What has gone into their minds?
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2011-12-22
What has gone into the mind of Senator Miriam Santiago to humiliate DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) Secretary Dinky Soliman during the Commission on Appointments (CA) hearings — after Soliman stated that their group, the Black and White Movement (BnW), sought their guidance from the Almighty?

When asked how the BnW members reached their decisions on what are right and wrong, Soliman explained that they always sought the guidance of the Almighty. Immediately Santiago went into antics mode and asked Soliman “Did God give you your appointment papers to decide on who’s good or evil? Do you have a direct line to God?” Sen. Santiago dared Soliman to present an authorization letter from God and later told the DSWD Secretary to resign.

The Catholic Church leaders should have protested against Sen. Santiago’s antics that denigrated a group that professes to follow Catholic teachings — to seek the guidance of God and conform to the guidelines that God has set. The Catholic Church admits that they’re losing adherents and that fewer men enter the priesthood. Here’s a group that’s demonstrating Christian values and when they’re attacked for practicing Christianity — the Catholic Church says nothing.

Sen. Santiago has recently been accepted in the International Court of Justice (ICJ), undeniably owed partly to the support of the President Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy) administration. Sen. Santiago has long sought the ICJ post but could not get it through the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) administration. Is it not the height of ingratitude for Sen. Santiago to continue to support GMA while making things more difficult for P-Noy?

Soliman is a vital cog in the P-Noy administration’s poverty reduction program. She’s a hard worker and is always on the job facilitating relief efforts whenever a calamity hits an area. How can Sen. Santiago and the CA use the PEACe Bonds issue against Soliman when nothing has really been established as criminal or irregular with that issue? Does the CA decide confirmations on the basis of unproved charges and disregards good job performance, as what Soliman has demonstrated in DSWD? P-Noy’s bosses, the Filipino people, should question Sen. Santiago and the CA for bullying and not confirming Sec. Soliman’s appointment.

What really emerges in Sen. Santiago’s humiliating treatment of Sec. Soliman is that she continues to serve and protect GMA. It’s no secret that GMA and her allies have been harboring a grudge against Soliman and sharpening their knives for the time when they can thrust these through Soliman’s torso, figuratively speaking, of course. The vendetta is rooted to the resignation of the Hyatt 10, of which Dinky is a prominent member.

Sen. Santiago’s loyalty to GMA is astonishing. Sen. Santiago was there at the EDSA Shrine in May 2000, priming a mob to assault GMA in Malacanang. She was one of the most vicious critics of GMA until a family tragedy happened — the death of her son by gunshot wound. When GMA visited the wake of Sen. Santiago’s son, Sen. Santiago was suddenly transformed into a defender of GMA. Why did rabidly anti-GMA Miriam Santiago become rabidly pro-GMA?

In this impeachment trial of Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice (CJ) Rene Corona, Sen. Santiago was also mouthing the GMA camp’s line of “an assault on the judiciary” or “creating a constitutional crisis” and so forth. Don’t hold your breath how she’ll vote in the impeachment trial.

Sen. Santiago’s transformation from rabidly anti-GMA to rabidly pro-GMA doesn’t surprise many folks as much as the transformation of Sen. Joker Arroyo into a staunch GMA defender. For those who know Sen. Joker as the human rights lawyer who defended the poor pro-bono and Ninoy Aquino and was a contributor to the People Power Revolution — his present (and recent past) actuations that protect GMA present a big puzzlement.
“What does GMA have on Joker for him to be defending her so vigorously? Why can’t Joker see GMA’s sins and the mess that she has created,” some of them ask. “How can Joker associate the son of Cory and Ninoy to a plot to establish an authoritarian regime, even say that P-Noy doesn’t live up to his mother’s standard?” others ask.

We also wonder how Fr. Joaquin Bernas, SJ can make those recent statements of his that serve the cause of GMA and impeached CJ Corona? “What has gone into Tito Joaquin’s mind?” the question is asked. Tito Joaquin is in reference to the reported favorite nephew of Fr. Bernas who is married to GMA’s daughter Lulli.

“Ours is now more appropriately called an Arroyo court,” Fr. Bernas described the Supreme Court in his “Shadow of Doubt” March 21, 2010 Inquirer column where he warned GMA against violating the constitutional ban if she appoints Associate Justice Rene Corona to Chief Justice. How can Tito Joaquin now be supporting Corona’s cause and that of GMA on an impeachment case that’s partly based on the very same issue?

Fearing conviction, expect GMA to use all her resources to maintain the Arroyo court that she had established. Even if the trial court and the Court of Appeals find her guilty, she is banking on her Arroyo court to exonerate her.

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  Previous Columns:

It had to happen on The Ides of March and Holy Week

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Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

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