Press Release
February 1, 2011

Transcript of Sen. Santiago's interview

On former COA Auditor Heidi Mendoza testifying in this morning's hearing on the Garcia plea bargain issue in the House of Representatives

I love Heidi Mendoza. I admire her a lot. She must be a very brave woman. We in the public must try and give her support as much as possible. So for example she says that a COA auditor or two of them called her when she was resident auditor for the Garcia monetary papers, then we must take her at her word. We must presume that her duty has been regularly performed. That is the presumption under the Rules of Court. Now, if we grant her that presumption, then we presume that it is true that certain auditors told her to "go easy". That in itself is a violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Law, because the Anti-Graft law makes it a crime if you persuade, influence or instigate somebody to break the law or to break rules and regulations. So her accusers, at this stage, stand accused of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Law.

I delivered a speech in 2004 entitled "The AFP: Not protectors but predators of the people". I was referring to the Constitutional provision that the AFP are the protectors of the people. I said that almost P1.44 billion are lost every year to corruption in the Armed Forces. It must be more than that today because I delivered that speech in 2004. So I can just imagine how much has been lost from our government especially from our foot soldiers themselves.

I am very happy that Lt. Col. Rabusa has made these revelations because it is an affirmation of what I said 2004. My only handicap at that time was that I could not produce an eyewitness who of course is willing to brave the trials and tribulations of testifying against very powerful and very rich people.

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