Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago on Friday attacked anew her political opponents, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, over Senate finances.
“Kung hindi lang matanda ’yan, suntukin ko ’yan ngayon [If he weren’t that old, I’d hit him now],” Santiago said in her speech at the annual convention of the Association of Nursing Service Administrators of the Philippines held at the Manila Hotel.
Though she did not name names, Santiago later admitted to reporters that she was referring to Enrile and Lacson, with whom she has an ongoing word war over the additional P2.2-million maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) that Enrile gave 18 senators last Christmas.
Santiago and three other senators— Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, Pia Cayetano, and Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV—got only P600,000 each in November 2012, and not the P1.6 million balance given to the other senators in December.
Santiago has accused Lacson of riding on the MOOE issue for supporting Enrile, and has described him as gay in her speeches.
Lacson, for his part, said that Santiago has been using Senate funds to pay for household expenses, including rent in a building she owns and her maids’ wages, and to finance the construction of a cockpit arena in Pasig.
In Friday’s event, Santiago took Enrile to task for the Cagayan freeport.
“In the whole Philippines, he’s the only person who has a port where smuggling takes place … And he’s not contented with himself; now, he even has a junior. Imagine?”
Santiago later clarified that she has nothing against Enrile’s son, Cagayan Rep. Jack Enrile, who is running for the Senate.
“But I’m against political dynasty by definition. I believe positions, especially high positions in national government, should be held on the basis of competence and experience,” Santiago explained.
The senator again brought up the MOOE issue in her speech.
“Biro mo ’yun at minumura pa n’ya ko?” she said, referring to Enrile. “Kung hindi lang matanda yan, suntukin ko yan eh (Imagine that? He’s badmouthing me. If he weren’t so old, I’d hit him),” she said, drawing even more laughter from the crowd.
Santiago then trained her guns on another unnamed senator: “Itong tao na ito, hindi ko alam kung tao ba ’to, babae o third sex ito … (This person, I don’t know if he’s human, a woman or gay). He’s accusing me of being corrupt but he has no evidence,” she said.
While Santiago admitted that she had used her Senate budget to pay the P70,000 rent of her office as Lacson has charged, she said the Senate secretariat itself had allowed it since the Senate offices were too small for their staff.
Santiago also denied Lacson’s accusation that she had financed the construction of a cockpit arena in Pasig City with her pork barrel, and defended her husband, former Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Narciso Santiago Jr, who is known as a cockfight hobbyist.
“He’s into sports promotion, he has a cock breeding farm,” Santiago said. “To say that we own a cockpit is an outright lie.”