Latest Stories

‘Bulalo’ problem won’t temper Santiago’s guts


Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago has what jokers may call bulalo (boiled beef or pork with vegetables) problem, but it’s not keeping her from blasting away at her enemies in a money quarrel in the Senate.

Her office said on Saturday that Santiago had been diagnosed with “a slow bone marrow,” a condition that results in low blood cell count.

But she remained quick on the draw, calling her enemies “toxic people” whom she should avoid to prevent another spike in her blood pressure.

“I am quarantined from certain toxic people, and I am sequestered from political news. I may as well be shot,” Santiago said in a statement.

According to her staff, Santiago suffered a mild stroke last week after a television interview where she discussed the supposed impropriety of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile’s release to selected senators of P1.6 million in additional funds for maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) as 2012 ended.

Santiago welcomed the opportunity to rest and spend time with her granddaughters.

Emotional exchanges and insults have punctuated the senatorial quarrel over the propriety and legality of Enrile’s giving away public funds and the controversy threatens to sidetrack pieces of priority legislation in the Senate as Congress returns from Christmas break tomorrow.


Enrile and Sen. Panfilo Lacson, the chair of the Senate committee on accounts, have explained the regularity of the release of the funds, but Santiago has not stopped questioning the constitutionality of giving away taxpayer money.

Santiago, Senators Alan Peter Cayetano, Pia Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes IV each received only P600,000 plus a P250,000 cash gift, while the rest of the senators, all allies of Enrile, got P1.6 million each in additional MOOE in December.

Santiago said she returned the cash gift. At the start of the new year she began to snipe at Enrile and his allies who defended him.

Former national police chief Lacson stepped into the fray and this week began casting doubt on Santiago’s own propriety, calling her “a crusading crook.”

Then he let fly with a story about a senator who used Senate funds to pay for the wages of household helpers and pay for groceries and repairs to a building the senator owned.


It’s up to COA

On Saturday Lacson said it was up to the Commission on Audit (COA) to look into how the senators spent the funds for their offices.

Lacson said he would submit to the COA documents that he had gathered in connection with the alleged misuse of public funds by one of his colleagues.

“I heard that [COA Chair Grace Pulido-Tan] has spoken. She’s encouraged by the ‘positive’ reactions from a number of senators regarding the special audit,” Lacson told the Inquirer.

Earlier, Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said the Senate would pass as many bills as it could before Congress goes into recess in the second week of February to give way to the campaign for the May midterm elections.

Congress will return on June 5, and adjourns on June 7.

In a statement, Enrile said the Senate would try to enact measures “that would address the country’s economic and social difficulties.”

“It is the Senate’s task to anticipate the needs of a nation. Every senator is looked upon to solve an immediate concern, proposing to solve it in a manner beneficial to all,” Enrile said.

“I’m excited to attend the session on Monday to see what will happen,” Sen. Francis Escudero said on Thursday before Enrile and Santiago separately announced a ceasefire.

“As I said, after the privilege hour [during which senators can speak on a point of personal or collective privilege], after [speeches have been] delivered by [the members] of the Senate, I hope there will still be time left on the first day of session to tackle pending bills,” Escudero said.


Will she be there?

Santiago said in an earlier statement that she was seriously considering the advice of her doctors that she skip the resumption of session tomorrow lest she suffer either another stroke or a heart attack.

According to her staff, Santiago was recovering from the mild stroke when she was diagnosed on Friday with a slow bone marrow.

Santiago underwent a series of blood tests at the Philippine Heart Center, and the results showed that she has abnormally low red blood cells and low hemoglobin.

Hemoglobin enables red blood cells to carry oxygen from the lungs and deliver it to all parts of the body.

It is said that when a person’s hemoglobin level is low, the blood cannot carry an adequate supply of oxygen, causing fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, heart palpitations and other symptoms.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: bulalo , low blood cell , maintenance and other operating expenses , mild stroke , Miriam Defensor-Santiago , MOOE , Philippine Senate , Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  2. Chinese lawyers say they were tortured by police
  3. Hair salon’s Kim Jong Un poster riles embassy
  4. Siquijor ‘healer’: For every cure, there’s a plant
  5. State seeks guilty verdict for Abalos
  6. Why college grads end up in the PNP
  7. Estrada: I will pray for my detractors
  8. Miraculous image makes Gapan City top site for pilgrimage in Central Luzon
  9. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  10. Five men from Cavite found dead in jeep in Batangas
  1. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  2. Massage attendant arrested on rape complaint filed by Japanese tourist
  3. ‘Tell no one’ Makati bettor won P250M lotto
  4. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  5. Netizens cry: 6/55 Lotto was rigged
  6. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  7. North Korea uses flamethrower to execute official
  8. ‘King’ Yabut and I: Driver bares Makati dad ‘abuses’
  9. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  10. It was difficult having Japanese blood
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. UP back on top as ‘average’ student aces bar
  5. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  6. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  7. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  8. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  9. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  10. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’


  • Romblon mining site collapses; 3 killed
  • South Korea says 295 missing in ferry disaster
  • OFW who returned home from UAE tests positive for MERS-CoV – DOH chief
  • QC cops bear crosses as penance for demerits
  • Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  • Sports

  • China, Taiwan rout foes for 3rd, 5th places in Asian Club volleyball
  • Ginebra’s new import Freeman arrives, makes PBA return vs ROS
  • Fielder ends HR drought, Rangers beat Mariners 5-0
  • Power Pinoys salvage 7th place in Asian men’s volley club championship
  • Knicks prevent Nets from clinching fifth seed
  • Lifestyle

  • Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  • Celebrate Easter Sunday at Buddha-Bar Manila
  • Moriones feast: A slow, steady transformation
  • Weaving ‘palaspas’ a tradition kept alive in Tayabas City
  • Finalists announced for best translated books
  • Entertainment

  • Mommy Dionisia Pacquiao’s greatest hits
  • Deniece Cornejo posts bail—report
  • Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels US concert
  • Otaku Summer Jam 2014: Summer’s hottest J-rock/Cosplay event
  • 2NE1 returns to Manila with “All Or Nothing” Tour
  • Business

  • I-Remit teams up with Lakhoo for remittances from Oman
  • Megawide nets P1.4 B in 2013
  • Longer TRO sought on rate hike
  • Make a stylish statement with the all-new Yaris
  • Hearing set in Olarte case
  • Technology

  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Another reason to quit social media this Holy Week: your safety
  • Opinion

  • We may never know
  • Couple of things
  • Mommy D’s magic
  • Stop bizarre and bloody Good Friday rituals
  • Holy Week taboos
  • Global Nation

  • Visa-free travel to Japan could boost tourism
  • 2 PCG men ordered arrested over Balintang Channel shooting
  • US Embassy closed on Holy Thursday, Good Friday
  • Relief worker draws inspiration from helping Yolanda victims
  • Philippines says peace pact should hold despite clashes
  • Marketplace