Santiago warns colleagues planning to boycott Puno probeBy Maila Ager
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago is threatening to stage a protest if none of her colleagues would attend her Friday investigation on the performance of resigned Interior Undersecretary Rico Puno.
Santiago disclosed that not a single member of the 11-man Senate committee on constitutional amendments, which she chairs, has confirmed their attendance when contacted by her staff.
“Many gave as an excuse that they would be out of town,” Santiago said in a statement.
Under the rules, at least two senators are needed to form a quorum at a committee hearing.
Santiago feared that the probe might be “sabotaged” for lack of quorum.
If her committee fails to get a quorum, Santiago said, “This could only mean that the senators have been ordered by Malacañang to stay away.”
“If that happens, such a deliberate boycott will indicate that even my fellow senators who are members of my committee do not support my initiative,” she said.
“I will certainly raise a protest but I’m thinking at the moment of what form my protest will take,” she added.
Santiago said even Puno, who’s the subject of the investigation, has not confirmed his attendance.
“If Puno is absent, then it will show that he is a craven coward, that all charges against him are probably true, and that he is thumbing his nose at the Filipino public,” she said.
She said Puno can invoke his rights against self-incriminations if there are questions that would incriminate himself.