MANILA, Philippines – A word-war erupted on Wednesday between senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Panfilo Lacson over the issue on the millions of pesos given to senators last year.
This, after Santiago directed her ire at one senator, whom she described as once a “fugitive from justice” for defending Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile over the additional P2.2 million maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) that he gave to the senators.
Santiago did not name names but Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, who went in hiding in 2010 after he was charged for the killing of publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and his driver, quickly fired back in a text message to reporters, calling the woman senator a “crusading crook.”
“Enrile does not even have the guts to face me at a public televised debate. Instead, he has been hiding behind the tails of his attack dogs,” Santiago said in an interview on cable network.
All senators except for Santiago, Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, Senators Pia Cayetano, and Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV got the full amount.
The four reportedly got only the P600,000 in November 2012 but never received the remaining P1.6 million released the following month.
Santiago said one of Enrile’s attack dogs was not a lawyer but a person “pretending to be one.”
“He does not even have a clue about the principle of exhaustion of administrative remedies. He was involved in a court case, and he turned tail and became a fugitive from justice, which is criminal behavior, she said, referring to the unnamed senator.
“That is what you get when a layman filled with hubris pretends to be a lawyer. Pilit nakikisawsaw,” she added.
Santiago lamented that Enrile’s defender has been calling her to shut up on the issue.
“If that senator wants to participate in the conspiracy of silence, he can, but he should respect my freedom of expression and the public’s right to know under the Constitution,” she said.
“If a dog barks at midnight, the homeowner should go out and search for the intruder, instead of beating the dog,” she further said.
Sought for comment, Lacson said, “Senator Miriam Santiago is what we may call a crusading crook.”
“She pretends to be clean when she is not. A hypocrite par excellence. She doesn’t have a single shred of integrity in her veins and moral ascendancy over any mortal on earth,” he said.
“Ask the people who have fallen victims to her verbal threats and assaults and they will tell you how much they shelled out,” he added.
Lacson said Santiago should do some soul searching and self-reflection and should also stop blaming God for all her hurt feelings.