Miriam rising to the occasion


Senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Juan Ponce Enrile

Senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Juan Ponce Enrile

It seems like Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago is treating Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile like a plague for a long time now by exorcising his devilry any which way she could and at any time when it is needed.

While most senators may have fallen under the spell of their octogenarian colleague because of his much vaunted wizardry in law, Miriam, however, finds Enrile more of a bluffer, a bully and an ignoramus.

Thank goodness there is a Miriam in the senate who could stand up against Enrile and, who, normally rises to the occasion to explain and make people understand what it is that the senators are debating in the senate.

The feisty lady senator’s verbal tirade against Enrile comes on the heels of a debate between warring senators Enrile and Trillanes over a probe on a 1994 Manila Water and Sewerage System resolution.

Trillanes simply wanted the Senate to look into the resolution which allegedly allowed water utilities to pass on corporate tax obligations to consumers.

The MWSS recently confirmed that consumers have been paying for some P15 billion of Manila Water Company, Inc. and Maynilad Water Services, Inc.’s taxes.

Enrile, however, flaunting his knowledge of the law, opposed Trillanes’ move, citing a constitutional provision which says: “No law impairing the obligation of contract shall be passed.”

I felt bad for Trillanes, a non-lawyer, who seemingly have fallen into a trap that the wily Enrile has set that enabled the latter to further pounce on his younger nemesis, bragging even that if this was being litigated and he was the lawyer, that he would easily beat Trillanes.

This is what, among other things, precipitated what Miriam described as her going into “heart attack mode”.

Under Senate rules, Enrile’s statement “constitutes unparliamentary language because it offends Sen. Trillanes and the Senate as a whole,” Miriam said.

I wonder what would have happened if Miriam was present during the senate proceedings. She criticized Enrile for his “ignorance of the law” for arguing something that is considered “an anachronistic provision of the Constitution.”

“The impairment clause is now no longer inviolate; in fact, there are many who now believe it is an anachronism in present-day society,” Santiago said.

Enrile’s erroneous argument, Santiago noted, turned the debate with non-lawyer Trillanes into mere “bluffing and bullying.”

“The Enrile speech was an egregious example of ignorance of the law, used as a tool to bludgeon the heads of non-lawyers,” the senator said.

What made Miriam’s intervention, however, more pleasing to my ears is when she chastised her senate colleagues, saying, “I am very disappointed that none of the lawyers in the majority coalition to which I belong stood up to unmask Enrile’s ignorance.”

Enrile ought to remember now what Abraham Lincoln said; “You can fool some  of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”


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