Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago: Top 10 Mad Moments Caught on Cam

When this feisty senator gets riled, it’s showtime!



( To borrow a line from Mad Men, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago has definitely changed the vibe of Chief Justice Renato Corona’s impeachment trial "from convalescent home to Roman orgy." That is, an orgy of diatribes. She has been quick to dress down anyone whom she thinks is unprepared or is wasting time (hers and the world in general). But her most recent "favorites" can take comfort in the fact that they’re not the only ones who have experienced Santiago’s wrath. She’s been verbally annihilating people on camera for years. Here, we’ve compiled just 10 of the formidable senator’s best loved, caught-on-cam mad moments from the present and from way back.




10. Not the Look of Love

"May I request the Chief Justice to discipline. Or, at the very least, admonish and reprimand this group that sees itself so high above the law."

-Santiago to Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr. in 2001, during the impeachment trial of then President Joseph "Erap" Estrada. Santiago was irked by a group of spectators in the Senate gallery whom she claimed looked at her "provocatively." The spectators were asked to leave the gallery.




9. Something Fishy

"If you can’t find enough number of senators as a bloc, then bumili ka doon sa (buy some at the) House. Mas marami sila, di mas mura sila. Para silang mga talakitok (There are a lot of them, so they’re cheaper. They’re like fish)."

-Santiago in full-on sarcastic mode in 2007, when her anti-billboard bill just got swept under the rug.




8. The Smiling Women

"May I just say to those two girls there... Will you please stop smiling and looking at your cellphones. If you’re not listening to my speech, please step out! Now! Nakaka-insulto ang ginagawa ninyo sa Senado ng Pilipinas (What you’re doing is an insult to the Philippine Senate)."

-Santiago to two women in the Senate gallery during her 2009 privilege speech, which criticized government officials who appeared in infomercials. The two women were, of course, asked to leave the gallery.




7. God’s Appointment Papers

"Who knows what God is? Who understands the mind of God? Who has a direct line to God so that he or she can ask God what is right or what is wrong. Pag sinabi mong Diyos at mali ang ginagawa ng iba ayon sa Diyos. Ikaw ang nagsasalita para sa Diyos. (You refer to God and you say there are other people doing things wrong according to God. Then you’re the one speaking for God.) I would like to see the appointment papers of the Black and White people from God, signed by God, appointing them, giving them powers of attorney."

-Santiago to Dinky Soliman, on December 14, 2011, at what would have been the confirmation hearing of the latter as Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary. Santiago had grilled Soliman and even asked her about her membership in the Black & White Movement, an organization of concerned citizens that was formed in 2005 primarily to call for the resignation of then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.




6. No Epal Allowed

"Therefore it behooves us to start with this principle: ’Justice delayed is justice denied.’ Huwag na tayong magpa-epal dito dahil nawawalan ng gana ang nanonood. Tama na ’yun. Dumaan na tayo doon (Let’s stop grandstanding because viewers are losing interest. Enough of that. We’ve been through that)."

-Santiago on Day 5 of Chief Justice Renato Corona’s impeachment trial, on January 24, 2012, somewhat warning everyone not to waste time with rhetorics. Shortly after this, Santiago ended up berating Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. for not immediately knowing how many witnesses the prosecution team was going to present.




5. In Which Case She Goes Postal

"Tila hindi n’ya naintindihan and ginagawa n’ya, in which case incompetent s’ya. O alam n’ya pero pibapabayaan n’ya, in which case duwag s’ya (It seems that he doesn’t understand what he’s doing, in which case he’s incompetent. Or maybe he knows what he’s doing but he’s just letting things slide, in which case he’s a coward)."

-Santiago talking about Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno in 2009. She was incensed because she thought he couldn’t control the so-called warlords in Maguindanao.



4. No Mercy

"What kind of public officials are Secretary Gary Teves and Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez that they will not act on a cause of action that brings national embarrassment to the entire Philippine government in the international community? How dare they flout the order of the Philippine Senate?"


-Santiago talking about Department of Finance Secretary Margarito "Gary" Teves and Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez in 2009. She was enraged that they had snubbed a Senate hearing on the blacklisting of three Filipino contractors for alleged corruption.




3. Screaming Match

"Please don't treat me as a mere observer. I am a judge in this proceeding! In any trial court, you should not speak, you should not take any behavior at all unless with the consent of the presiding judge. Don’t drown me out by screaming in this courtroom! Only I can scream here and my fellow judges!"

-Santiago berating private prosecutor Arthur Lim, on January 25, 2012. Santiago was irritated that Lim once again brought up issues that had already been decided on by the court.



2. Cellphone Science

"What the heck is so important? Is it going to change the configuration of the astrophysical universe? This is the last warning. I will cite you for contempt!"

-Santiago to people whose cellphones kept ringing during a 2010 Senate session. Prior to the start of the session, Santiago had asked everyone to turn off their cellphones.




1. The OK Corral Situation

"I challenge the shadowy faces behind this corrupt media blitz. Come on you hypocrites, stop being sneaky. Be men, come out of the bushes, and reveal yourselves. Since you have chosen to engage in character assassination, let us have a showdown at the OK Corral in full view of the public."

-Santiago to her detractors at the height of the NBN/ZTE Broadband controversy in 2007.




Art by Warren Espejo.

Image credits: Screenshots from news video clips.

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