Miriam Urges Ban On Surveys

MANILA, Philippines - Senator-judge Miriam Defensor-Santiago yesterday said public surveys should be banned while the impeachment trial of embattled Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona is ongoing.

Santiago issued the statement after Pulse Asia recently released its latest poll on the public sentiment on the Corona trial where 47 percent of the respondents believe that the Chief Justice is guilty of ''betrayal of public trust.''

''There should be a rule against publication of surveys. That is contemptuous, that is an attempt to obstruct justice, or to put it in another way, to degrade justice,'' Santiago said in a DZBB interview.

Santiago also said such survey should not be released half-baked considering that the Senate impeachment court has not yet finished hearing the presentation of the defense panel.

''Una, kasi kung magsu-survey ka pagkatapos pa lang ng presentation ng ebidensya ng prosekyusyon. Anong klase yun? Hindi pa nila naririnig ang depensa? (First , they made a survey only after the prosecution panel presented their evidence? What kind of a survey is that when they have yet to finish hearing the defense side?)'' Santiago pointed out.

''This is a clear effort to manipulate the results of the impeachment trial...it is clear it is intended to influence the court and the senator-judges,'' Santiago said.

Santiago cited the way the American jury is quarantined from the media, disallowed from reading newspapers and watching television to avoid being influenced in deciding the case.

Asked if there's a need for the Senate impeachment court to admonish poll institutions for releasing such surveys, Santiago said there's no need since it would only delay the court's trial.

''Hindi na kasi nagawa na eh. Remember we are on a month and a half break. We'll resume May 7 and we'll be in session only until June 7, one month lang pagkatapos sine die adjourment na,'' she pointed out.

''We have only one month left so we should not be distracted,'' Santiago said.

''Ang tanong dyan eh, bakit itong defendant, the Chief Justice hindi niya nilagay yung pera niyang P34-million sa Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN)? Di ba kasalanan yun? (Why didn't the defendant include the P34-million in his SALN? Isn't that highly irregular?'' she pointed out citing the said sale of a property to the City government of Manila during former Manila Mayor Lito Atienza's time.

'''Yun pala hindi niya pera yun, pera ng korporasyon ng asawa niya (Cristina Corona). Kaya tama naman pala na hindi niya include dahil kung I include niya yun, magagalit ang kalaban ng asawa niya. Buong pamilya-away ng pamilya iyon, (It turned out it wasn't his money, and not his wife's money, but the money of the corporation of his wife. So it is understandable why he did not include the money in his SALN for it would bring trouble to the family. That's the whole family-it's a family feud) she further said.

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