MANILA, Philippines – Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago is back with a strong warning that she would reveal all the “sins” and “sexuality” of her nemesis, Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, whom she called “Pinky” Lacson.
“Maghanda ka. Dahil mayroon akong parliamentary immunity. Ibubulgar ko lahat ng kasalanan mo. Pati ang sexuality mo (Be ready. I have parliamentary immunity. I’ll expose all your sins. And it will include your sexuality),” Santiago told Radyo Inquirer 990 AM on Wednesday.
“Tapos ikaw hindi ka na senador wala ka ng parliamentary immunity. Pag sumagot ka sa akin, idedemanda kita ng libel…(And you will have no more parliamentary immunity. If you answer back at me I’ll sue you for libel),” she added.
When sought for reaction, Lacson denied Santiago’s insinuation about his sexuality.
“I am sorry to disappoint the lady senator. If she’s insinuating some lunatic idea about my sexuality, let me emphasize this—I am not gay and I don’t intend to be one,” Lacson told INQUIRER.net in a text message.
Santiago, who has been on sick leave from the Senate, said she would return to the Senate when sessions resume in July to answer Lacson’s allegation that she was using the Senate fund to pay for the rent of her extended office in a building that she herself owned.
Santiago admitted that she used her budget in the Senate to pay the P70,000 rent of her office in the building in question.
But it was the Senate Secretariat, she said, who told her that she can use the Senate fund to pay the rent.
“Yun ang sinabi ng Senate secretariat sa akin: ‘Ah ma’am pwede yun.’ E kako ako ang may-ari n’yan e, pwedeng ako rin mag-uupa dun? Sabi nila oo may paraan ‘yan e. Ang pipirma hindi ikaw kung hindi ang Senate President tapos ang magpipirma yung namamahala ng iyong building. Ang tawag namin office manager,” she pointed out.
(This is what the Senate secretariat had told me: ‘…ma’am, it can be done.’ Then I said I’m the owner and can I be the tenant? Then they said yes because there’s a way. I will not be the signatory but the Senate President. We call it office manager.)
Santiago said the money she used to pay the rent of a 450-square-meter office in her own building came from the P2.2 million allocated for each senator, half of the amount went to the salaries of the staff.
“Ganito yun, kasi alam mo ang Senado walang building na sarili. Ngayon ang binibigay na kwarto para sa senador masyadong maliit. E binibigyan kami ng pera na P2.2 million na ang kalahati doon ay sweldo sa staff. Kaya kung meron kang P1.2 million na pangsweldo bawat buwan, ibig sabihin pinapayagan na malaking malaki ang staff mo. Dapat lang dahil marami kang dapat ipa research, gagawin,” said the senator.
(Well you see the Senate does not own a building. The space given to senators is too small. We were given P2.2 million, half of the amount goes to the staff. So you’ll have P1.2 million that can be used for salaries every month, meaning you are allowed to have a bigger staff. It should be because you will a lot of things to research.)
“Kaya let’s say bawat senador siguro may 30 to 40 na staff…Hindi yan kakasya sa mga kwarto namin sa Senado,” she said.
(So let’s say each senator perhaps has 30 to 40 staff…they will not fit in the rooms provided by the Senate.)
Besides, Santiago said, other senators were also renting offices that they owned. She declined to identify her colleagues who were doing the same thing.
“Ngayon ginagawa ng ibang senador yan. Ginawa na yan noon. Ano ngayon ang kasalanan ko at binibigyan ko pa ng bargain ang gobyerno? (Other senators are doing the same thing now. I have done that before. What have I done wrong? I even gave the government a bargain),” Santiago said.
“Kaya sasagutin ko si Pinky Lacson na yan at hindi lamang iyan, kakalkalin ko isa-isa from A to Z ang kasalanan nya (So I’ll get back at Pinky Lacson and not only that, I’ll dig up all his sins from A to Z ),” she added.
Lacson’s term in the Senate will end in June 2013.
But told about Lacson’s possible appointment in the government after his term, Santiago said: “Aba swerte nya. Pero propaganda lang nya yan para hindi sya mawalan ng supporters nya kasi ang tao sa ating lipunan kapag nawala na sa pwesto sa gobyerno, wala na ring kaibigan.”
(Oh he’s lucky. But that’s only his propaganda so he won’t lose supporters because you know people tend to say that if you lose your government position you will have no more friends.)