Senator-judge Miriam Defensor-Santiago asked if a questionable document could be a basis for issuing a subpoena.
“Hindi mo pala alam kung ano yun bakit mo sisingilin kami na mag-issue kami ng subpoena? That’s only a scrap of paper. Why are you doing this to the court? Why don’t you hit your law books?” a furious Senator Santiago said.
“Can you allege something in open court that you have information but based on anonymous source? If you bring this to any judge in any part of the country, particularly in Metro Manila, you’ll be cited in contempt,” she added.
Santiago called it a “very, very strange and bizarre document” and asked if it could be a basis for a subpoena. Reacting on the prosecution’s statement that it was done in good faith, she raised her voice, “Duty my foot! It is your liability and a disgrace to judicial system.”
Media was not spared from Senator Santiago’s outburst during the Impeachment trial of Day 17.
Santiago pointed out the prosecution panel claims that additional sources of information came from the the members of the media and she fumed as well. “Is this government by media? Or is this judicial system by media? Again, this is a ground for contempt. If I were a trial judge I would say ‘you are wasting my time. Sheriff take him to city jail!’ That’s direct contempt.”
She added that the prosecution stated that while it cannot vouch for the authenticity of the said documents, the panel believes that it is its duty to submit the document to this court as it may have a bearing on the court’s resolution of the pending request for subpoena.
“Say again? One, I heard someone whom I cannot identify say something. No. 2 I read it in the media, now it is my duty to bring it to the attention of the court. Duty my foot! It is not your duty. It is your liability. That is disgrace to the judicial system and I have basis for saying that,” she said.
She noted how media labelled the senator-judges as either pro-Aquino or pro-Corona.
“What’s the role of media? Pababayanan na lang ba natin sila?” She continued on.
“What does it say of our integrity. Pababayaan lang ba sila? Libreng-libre sila in the name of the freedom of the press.”
It is clear that Senator Santiago stressed the following:
1. Rule of law and due process
2. Presumption of innocence
3. Media cannot discuss merit or give leads
“No person may comment on the merits of the case. Even we are not allowed to do that.”
Santiago: “It is my duty to submit it to this court” Duty my foot!
1:30 Sen. Santiago makes a manifestation
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