Press Release
February 8, 2011

Transcript of Sen. Santiago's interview

We are all members of the human family and therefore the death of even just one of us is already a cause for grief because of the tragedy involved. We all commiserate with the family and we hope wherever Sec. Angelo Reyes has gone, he will find the peace of mind and the serenity that seems to have eluded him in this life.

Dapat po bang ipatawag po ba sa isang corruption hearing ang pamilya ni Sec. Reyes?

If I were a presiding judge, I would respond to the prosecutor that it should not be immediately after the event because we are a very compassionate people, maybe they are still inarticulate at this period of tragedy in their lives.

But if the question simply is do we have the power (to summon them), yes we do.

Do you want to ask the family of Sec. Reyes questions if they are summoned in the Blue Ribbon committee hearing?

Yes. I will have to know what recommendation to make to the Ombudsman about the properties because the law is very clear: they have to be forfeited.

Upon the death of a person of interest or an accused, all his liabilities are totally extinguished with respect to himself, there's no more civil or criminal liability. But since there is disputed property, then presumably this will devolve upon his heirs, and now his heirs will have the function of defending allegedly lawful possession of this property coming to them through inheritance.

Do you feel sorry for the things you have said against Sec. Reyes?

No because I was only quoting the law. It is almost impossible for him to contradict or impeach the testimony of Lt. Col. Rabusa because the Supreme Court has said many times that mere testimony of an eye witness is sufficient even to convict a crime of murder for as long as the eyewitness has not been impeached, that is to say his credibility has not been shot.

Some senators are calling for more moderate proceedings. Do you think some senators went beyond the line and offended Sec. Reyes?

We are just speculating. We don't really know what was running through his mind, whether it was the latest incident where apparently some senators are moving to have him sub poenaed instead of merely being invited so that he can comment on the charge by Sen. Estrada that the wife of Gen. Ligot went to the United States, bought certain properties, placed it in her name, but only as a dummy for the wife of Sec. Reyes. So it would have been the straw that broke the camel's back. Or maybe he was just depressed, you can't really tell. I don't want to speculate. But I really do feel sorry for him because he must have been in extreme turmoil to have taken such an extreme step.

There were suggestions from some senators that an executive session be held first before naming individuals during the hearing.

I'm afraid that the media will complain because media will accuse us of withholding information from the public and immediately invoke the right to information which is enshrined in our Constitution. That is our problem.

Did the blue ribbon committee do anything wrong in conducting the investigation? They say it was merely a trial by publicity.

Talagang magiging trial by publicity once there is a hearing by a political branch of government, whether it is the Senate or the House because what we can do at worst really is to file a recommendation with the enclosed report on whatever it was being investigated. We don't really have power of our own. So the main purpose of these hearings is to publicize them, maybe to engage in name and shame, and hope that the public will uphold whatever has been brought out by the evidence during the trial.

Actually if you really think about it, the relationship between the topic and the bill that should be proposed as an answer to whatever was the problem caused by the alleged misconduct is very tenuous, very distant. But that has been the legal tradition in our country. So you have to change the Constitution if you want to avoid this kind of publicity. That could be adverse to the person in interest.

It is traditional to be sensationalistic in these cases, particularly for members of the committee who are not lawyers. They don't know what the limits are, and they tend to overstep the bounds of propriety in their desire to show to the media and to the viewing public that they have made a certain point. Iyon ang problema kasi hindi sila abugado, kung anu-anong pinagtatanong at kung anu-anong komentaryo.

Hindi lang dito sa kasong ito, (kundi) sa lahat ng kaso. That will always be the tendency. Tumawag ka ng imbestigasyon, ngayon, gusto mong mabalita nang malawakan kung anuman iyang nadiskubre mo maski hindi tama ang iyon logic from the evidence to the conclusion. That's the problem.

Can we still find answers in the scandals even with Sec. Reyes gone?

Yes. Some will of course maximize and exploit the fact that he may have committed suicide over a guilty conscience. That is for them to decide. I wouldn't do it. But certainly there will be some truths to be harvested by continuing with the hearing. It will not become useless or ineffective just because one of the persons of interest died.



Section 4. Prohibition on private individuals. It shall be unlawful for any person having family or close personal relation with any public official to capitalize or exploit or take advantage of such family or close personal relation by directly or indirectly requesting or receiving any present, gift or material or pecuniary advantage from any other person having some business, transaction, application, request or contract with the government, in which such public official has to intervene. Family relation shall include the spouse or relatives by consanguinity or affinity in the third civil degree. The word "close personal relation" shall include close personal friendship, social and fraternal connections, and professional

aika thelmo: employment all giving rise to intimacy which assures free access to such public officer.

(b) It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly to induce or cause any public official to commit any of the offenses defined in Section 3 hereof.

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