Santiago defends Aquino, says he has ‘independent mind’
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago defended President Benigno Aquino III, who has been criticized as an “awful” manager by his own ally in the Senate.
For Santiago, Aquino is an independent person who would rather act with caution than rush into things.
“I know that it’s very easy to criticize but it’s very difficult because every person, every president must act within his own peculiar set of circumstances, which are always navigating their way around international politics,” she told reporters on Friday.
“You have to own up to your own decision and assume responsibility no matter (what)…the outcome might be. That’s why President Aquino is taking his own time,” she added.
The senator was reacting to Senator Sergio Osmeña’s statement Thursday that Aquino was a good and honest man but a “poor” and an “awful” manager.
Osmeña made the remark after disclosing that his advice to the President to fire Energy chief Jericho Petilla had just been ignored.
But Santiago said Aquino was entitled to “some degree of prudence” when making important decisions particularly on members of his Cabinet.
“Remember, President Aquino would be a retired politician by 2016. He has to live with himself, he has no more political future and that I think entitles him to some degree of prudence when he’s making important decisions particularly on the membership of his official family, his Cabinet who are his alter ego. They speak and they act as if they are the President,” she pointed out.
“I would say that I would view the matter with sympathy from the perspective of President Aquino.”
Asked how she would describe Aquino as a leader, the senator said the President was neither a “hawk” nor a “dove.”
“I think what characterizes him is his independent mind…” Santiago said.
She said Aquino preferred to act slowly rather than to rush into things.
“He’s a great fear of rushing to judgment,” the senator added.