September 17, 2012
BOOK FAIR CROWD MOBS MIRIAM AFTER CABINET SNUB
Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, whose Senate hearing was snubbed last Friday both by the cabinet and most of the senators, was spontaneously applauded when she entered the book fair last Saturday, at the SMX Mall of Asia in Pasay City.
When she entered the vast hall filled with exhibits of new books from various book suppliers and dealers, Santiago's name was announced as a special guest and the crowd of some 500 to 700 people spontaneously broke into applause.
Santiago could not even move when she stood near the entrance, because she was immediately surrounded by a crowd of some 50 people who wanted to take cellphone photos with her.
The senator made her excuses so that she could buy her imported law books, but the crowds followed her from booth to booth.
In every booth, Santiago consented to photo opportunities, but after sometime had to excuse herself so she could go inside and examine the books.
The crowd waited patiently outside each booth, and the photo sessions would begin all over again until the senator would excuse herself again to enter another booth.
Starting last Sunday, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media have carried accounts and photos of her in casual linen blouse, peering at the spine of law books and paying for them at the cashier's table.
Occasionally, her supporters would keep up her spirits with remarks such as: "Don't let them get you down;" and "Fight for the right!"
During the hearing of her committee on revision of laws, Santiago was unusually relaxed and playful, limiting herself to teasing Puno, PNP Chief Nicanor Bartolome, and the PNP chief of the bids and awards committee, Gen. Emelito Sarmiento.
During the hearing, Santiago established that although Puno denied having any unique authority over the PNP, no less than Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, in his review of the report on the Luneta hostage-taking incident, wrote that: "Usec. Puno . . . assumed the functions of DILG Usec. for peace and order, directly in charge of PNP affairs pursuant to the order of the President." Santiago asked Puno why his version directly contradicted Ochoa's version, but Puno could not explain.
Santiago also showed that Puno apparently exceeded his authority as a "self-proclaimed observer" at the proceedings concerning the sale of firearms to the PNP. Under interpellation by Santiago, Puno admitted that he called a meeting of all the bidders and told them not to protest over the lack of necessary documents by a certain supplier, who allegedly won the bid.
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