MANILA, Philippines — Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago and former Senator Panfilo Lacson have renewed their exchange of harsh words after the lawmaker scoffed at her former colleague’s proposal for President Aquino to create an anti-corruption agency that can conduct entrapment operations against corrupt government officials.
Santiago, in a statement, said that the creation of a presidential commission against corruption would be unconstitutional. She also called it egotistic, saying the new agency would be tailored to the designs of Lacson.
“His plan is laughable and ridiculous. It is unconstitutional, illegal, immoral, and egotistic. It is amazing that the former senator can be so brazen as to propose a plan that violates existing standards of law and ethics,” Santiago said of Lacson’s proposal.
According to Santiago, a constitutional law expert, it is a basic principle of the tripartite system of democracy that the creation of a public office is primarily a legislative function. “He should go to Congress and lobby for this self-serving, self-aggrandizing personal pet project of his,” Santiago said.
“Congress has not passed a law delegating to the President the legislative power to create a new office. Hence, Lacson’s plan violates not only the Constitution but also the Administrative Code and R.A. No. 6975, also known as the DILG (Department of Interior and Local Governments) Act of 1990,” Santiago said.
While Santiago presented a lengthy discussion why Lacson’s proposal would be unconstitutional and even illegal, Lacson only offered a curt reply.
“Only the corrupt and the corruptible will resent the creation of an anti-corruption body,” Lacson said in a text message, when asked for his thoughts on Santiago’s latest remarks against him.
Santiago and Lacson started a seething war of words earlier this year on the heels of the controversy over then Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile’s release of P1.6 million in funds meant for maintenance and other operating expenses for each senator’s office except four—Santiago, Alan Peter Cayetano, Pia Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes IV.
Santiago lashed out at Lacson, then the chairman of the Senate committee on accounts, for supposedly defending Enrile and the release of the MOOE funds.
Santiago referred to Lacson as one of Enrile’s attack dogs. Lacson countered by calling Santiago “a crusading crook,” who pretends to be clean when she is not.