After a relatively long absence in the Senate, feisty Senator Miriam Defensor is back and with a bang.
On the eve of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing for Janet Napoles' first public appearance, Santiago herself announced that she will be confronting Napoles.
"I will leave my sickbed to confront Janet Napoles tomorrow to show that she cannot take advantage of the right against self-incrimination," Santiago said Wednesday night via Twitter.
Although late for the hearing, Miriam proved her promise true and tried to push Napoles to speak during the hearing, aired on TV, Thursday.
Sporting a new hairstyle and wearing a maroon blazer, Santiago said upon seeing Napoles: "Oh there you are. Let me take a good look at you."
"I will not bully you. I hope you show me the same courtesy by telling me the truth and nothing but the truth," Santiago told Napoles, who responded with a nod. Santiago then added: "Wala kang karapatan magsabi ng sinungaling [You don't have a right to lie]."
Santiago went on to lecture Napoles and the public on law, even boasting of a book she wrote, while asking Napoles about her lawyers, and why she went to the hearing without a counsel.
"Napoles chose not to bring counsel but she could afford one! The PAO is for indigent litigants only," said Santiago.
Invoking right against self-incrimination
Santiago began her series of questions with who are "Tanda," "Sexy," and "Pogi," which are names coined by the pork barrel scam whistle-blowers, referring to Senators who were supposedly part of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.
When Napoles repeatedly said "hindi ko alam [I don't know]," Santiago prodded the alleged scam operator to instead invoke her right against self-incrimination.
Napoles then responded to every question by invoking her right, to which Santiago said: "You cannot keep on invoking your right against self-incrimination since you took an oath to tell the truth."
“Nakadeadma ka sa akin, paano tayo ngayon makaabot sa katotohanan?" she added.
Santiago also asked Napoles how much her JLN corporation earned and wondered how a relatively small company could sustain the Napoles family's posh lifestyle. But the alleged scam operator refused to answer the question and mentioned that a case has already been filed in the Bureau of Investigation.
After delivering tirades, some alluding to her nemesis, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, Santiago then moved to convince Napoles to speak by enumerating the benefits of being a state witness.
She said that if Napoles isn't the most guilty, she may be eligible to become a state witness.
"Sino ang most guilty? Hindi mo alam? Ako alam ko eh...senador, because he owns an empire!" Santiago added.
If being a state witness does not hold any appeal, Santiago then emphasized that Napoles should speak before she gets killed.
“Gusto nilang patayin ka, andiyan sa utak mong ‘yan ang pagkakasira ng, di lamang kayaman, pati buhay nila. Importante malagyan duct tape ang mukha mo,” said Santiago.
"Tell the truth before the senators affected have you assassinated. Sabihin mo na yan at ligtas mo," Santiago said.