Look who’s talking: Senator Santiago wants to ban ‘turncoatism’ | Inquirer News

Look who’s talking: Senator Santiago wants to ban ‘turncoatism’

Look who’s talking.

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, the politician who has conveniently attached herself to whichever administration is in power, now wants to purge the country of so-called “political butterflies.”

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Santiago has filed Senate Bill No. 2264 which defines “political turncoatism” as a “change of political party affiliation during an elective public officer’s term of office.”

The practice also covers any party member who would switch political affiliations “within one year immediately preceding or following an election.”

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Santiago said her proposed “Anti-Political Turncoatism Act” was intended to “penalize political butterflies and restore belief in our political party system.”

But the lawmaker has been criticized for being a “political butterfly” herself, having supported five of the last six presidents, including the incumbent, President Aquino.

Santiago was a staunch supporter of President Joseph Estrada, who was ousted in the second Edsa People Power revolution of 2001 and was later convicted of plunder. She was one of the political figures who persuaded Estrada’s supporters to march on Malacañang to protest Estrada’s arrest in May 2001.

But when then Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took over, Santiago quietly worked her way into the new administration. She became a regular companion of the new president in her official foreign visits, mainly because the senator headed the committee on foreign relations at the time.

And now, Santiago appears to have become cozy with Mr. Aquino, who ran and won on an anti-Arroyo platform in the 2010 elections. The President even served as best man during the 40th wedding anniversary of Santiago and her husband, Narciso Santiago Jr., on June 19.

Santiago supported Sen. Manuel Villar, not Mr. Aquino, in the 2010 presidential elections.

Asked about her alleged political turncoatism, the senator said in a previous interview: “I’ve always been a willing conspirator to any sitting president.”

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In SB 2264, an official who transfers to another party during his incumbency would be “deemed to have forfeited his office.”

Candidates who would do so within a year before or after an election would be “disqualified from running for any elective position in the next two succeeding elections immediately following the act of changing political party affiliation.”

They would be banned for five years from appointment to any public office, including in government-owned and –controlled corporations. They also cannot hold any “executive or administrative position” in their new party.

They will be penalized further by being required to refund amounts received from their political party, plus a 50–percent surcharge.

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TAGS: Anti-Political Turncoatism Act, political butterfly, political turncoatism, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Senate Bill No. 2264
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