A COMPLAINT for disbarment was filed Thursday before the Supreme Court against Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago for a slew of charges ranging from serious misconduct to obstruction of justice related to the death of his son in 2003.
Santiago is running for reelection in the coming May national elections. She filed her certificate of candidacy with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on November 27, 2009.
The disbarment complaint was filed by a certain Efren Battad, with address at Baseco Compound in Port Area, Manila. He was represented by lawyer Bonifacio Alentajan.
Charges for her disqualification, citing similar grounds, have been filed before the Comelec recently to compel the poll body to drop her name from the list of senatorial candidates for the May elections.
In his 13-page complaint, Battad alleged that Santiago was liable for serious misconduct and violation of the anti graft practices law for deliberately failing to make a full disclosure of her financial and business interests in connection with her purchase of a lot and construction of a tiled mansion in the premier La Vista Subdivision in Quezon City, valued at P53.2 million.
Battad also alleged that Santiago violated Presidential Decree 1829 penalizing obstruction of apprehension and prosecution of criminal offenders in connection to the investigation of her son Alexander Robert’s violent death on November 20, 2003.
During that time, Santiago claimed that her son committed suicide, disallowed any criminal investigation to be done on her son, and immediately ordered the cadaver’s cremation, thus destroying any evidence of any offense.
Santiago, added Battad, violated the canons of the Code of Professional Responsibility when she displayed “unparliamentary behavior” by indulging in offensive personal tirades and uttering words.
Battad cited the senator’s alleged statement issued in 1992 when she ran for president, saying: “Many if not all of my presidential opponents are certifiable idiots,” and, “Kahit sino pwedeng tumakbo, kahit sinong gago.”
When she was dropped from the list of nominees for the position of Supreme Court Chief Justice, Santiago was also quoted as saying, “I am irate. I am foaming at the mouth. I am homicidal. I’m suicidal. I’m humiliated, debased and degraded. And not only that, I feel like throwing up to be living my middle years in a country of this nature. I am nauseated.”
Santiago further referred to Congress as the “land of the living dead,” and congressmen as “para silang mga talakitok.”
The complaint likewise alleged that Santiago used her position as senator to give unwarranted benefits to her husband, former Department of Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Narciso Santiago, brother, sister, son and cousin by having them appointed to the government.
“She is of unsound mind. She appears to be suffering from a severe mental disorder. Characterized by the following symptoms: delusion of grandeur (She wanted to be President of the Philippines, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and a Member of the International Court of Justice; flight of ideas; mood swings; penchant for lying; and, paranoia,” said Battad.
Aside from asking her disbarment from the practice of law, Battad also asked that Santiago’s name be stricken off the roll of attorneys and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
Prior to her appointment as Commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation and as Acting Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform, Santiago was a private lawyer and served as a regional trial court judge of Quezon City.
When she ran and lost in the 1992 presidential elections, Santiago turned to teaching law at the University of Sto. Tomas Faculty of Law. (JCV/Sunnex)