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Barbs Between Two Philippine Senators Turn Ugly

Trading barbs - Senators Santiago and Lacson

Manila – What seemed to be a tussle of legitimate issues turned uglier between Philippine Senators Panfilo Lacson and Miriam Defensor-Santiago as they continue to trade barbs even outside on what should have been the august hall of the Philippine Congress’ upper chamber.

It all started when Lacson exposed on the alleged anomalies committed by Santiago as a senator and has even submitted documents to the Office of the Ombudsman claiming these allegations. Lacson alleged Santiago of using Senate funds to rent a satellite office in a building that her family owns and to pay her personal expenses, among them, the salaries of her housemaids.

Santiago, who was elected early last year to become one of the judges at the Netherlands-based International Criminal Court (ICC) and is just awaiting to be called to start her tour of duty , apparently did not deny Lacson’s allegations on using Senate funds to pay her satellite office situated at her family’s property. She said this action has the approval of the Senate Secretariat.

Last Wednesday, Santiago blew her top against Lacson and threatened that she will reveal the latter’s sins and even his sexuality, calling the senator “Pinky Lacson.” Lacson, a former national police chief during the time of deposed President Joseph Estrada, finds Santiago accusation “below the belt” and denied them bluntly, saying if he is gay, there wouldn’t be any macho in the world.

Lacson, on Friday, said that he will bare more anomalies committed by Santiago and threatened that he will prepare more evidences for possible cases against the lady senator. He alleged that Santiago used her priority development assistance fund (PDAF) to build a cockpit arena in Pasig City instead of a sports complex.

“Every time she opens her mouth, I gather evidence to expose her misdeeds and corrupt ways…she is going overboard, she thinks she can always invoke immunity by insanity,” said Lacson, who also threatened to bring the graft cases against Santiago before the ICC once filed in courts.


The enmity between Lacson and Santiago started when the latter went up against Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile for giving each senator Php1.6 million as Christmas gift from the Senate President’s maintenance and other operating expenses fund except Santiago and three other senators.

This so-called “Christmas gift” from the Senate President to the senators also caused an ugly exchange of words at the Senate floor between Enrile and Senator Alan Peter Cayetano last month. The heated exchange of debates “goes down the gutter” after Enrile even dragged Cayetano’s father, the late former Senator Renato Cayetano, whom the Senate President still owes him millions of pesos from a loan made several years ago.