Sometime in 2011, I blogged about these two outspoken senators – Panfilo Lacson and Miriam Defensor-Santiago – sounding my appreciation for their presence in the Upper House of Congress. (https://quierosaber.wordpress.com/2011/08/31/thank-goodness-we-have-a-ping-and-a-miriam-in-the-senate-today/).
Both fearless and blunt, they took on issues that mattered most to the people and to me they both seemed to represent the kind of elected official the electorate should be thinking about to craft the country’s laws in Congress.
They may have their own idiosyncrasies, just like any other person has his, and it is what defines them who they are and, individually, they seem to have met the expectations of people who made them senators of the realm.
They fact that they have been elected and re-elected a number of times speak well of their individual performances especially where it concerns going after corrupt officials and authoring and/or supporting legislation for the good of the country and beneficial to the greater number of Filipinos.
Unfortunately for the senate, and to the dismay of many, the unexpected happened and both now are having each under the crosshair of their vituperative tongues and have been unceasingly disparaging scathing remarks against each other.
While it is interesting to know how far their feud will go, the downside of it is that it has put the senate in bad light and the member’s integrity and, even the sexuality of one senator, in question.
The root cause of this brouhaha is about the senate funds distributed by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile amounting to P1.6 million each for every senator except Santiago and three others allegedly to augment the senators’ maintenance and other operating expenses. (https://quierosaber.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/the-scandalous-bickering-of-senators/).
Not contented with calling each other names like “attack dog” for Lacson and “crusading crook” for Santiago, now the latter has upped her ante by calling Lacson, “Pinky”, a deviation from his “Ping” nickname.
Piqued that Lacson earlier filed charges against her before the Ombudsman for allegedly using Senate funds to rent a “satellite office” in a building in Quezon City which turned out to be family-owned and also gathering evidence concerning her alleged illegal use of her “pork barrel” funds to construct a cockpit arena in Pasig City (note that a senator is entitled to Php200 million pork barrel allocation or priority development assistance fund while each congressman receives Php70 million a year), Santiago has warned Lacson that she will run after him and expose his wrongdoings during the next congress when he is no longer a senator and will cease enjoying parliamentary immunity.
It was short of saying to Lacson to shut up or put up, or else face libel suit, in case he answers back, as Santiago is still well covered with the immunity cloak, she being still a senator.
From here one could see not only the impropriety and disservice happening in congress among our elected officials, but also the glaring abuse of power through their so called parliamentary immunity. It only shows how disadvantaged we are.
The Lacson-Santiago feud is definitely not doing the country any good.
For that matter, any bickering among elected officials that has to do with personal issues will only highlight the nation’s inadequacy and the lack of moral fiber among our leaders.