Miriam hits Kiko's stand on JPEPA renegotiation

by LYNDA JUMILLA, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 05 2008 09:31 PM | Updated as of Sep 06 2008 05:31 AM

Short of calling her own colleague ignorant, Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago on Friday said Senate Majority Leader Francis Pangilinan’s call for the renegotiation of the Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement “(JPEPA) violates the most basic principle of freshman law.”

“You do not renegotiate a treaty at the period of plenary debates. You ask for a renegotiation during a committee hearing,” explained Santiago, who as chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, was sponsoring the resolution for the ratification of JPEPA  on the Senate floor.

Santiago said she was aghast that lawmakers would demand a negotiation of the treaty that has been “signed, sealed and delivered” by the executive branch to the Senate, which, in turn, already allowed its committee to sponsor it on the floor.

Besides Santiago, Sen. Manuel Roxas II is co-sponsoring the JPEPA insofar as the trade aspect is concerned.

Aside from Pangilinan, three other senators – Benigno Aquino III, Antonio Trillanes IV and Ana Consuelo “Jamby” Madrigal - are calling for a renegotiation despite the so-called exchange of notes that was supposed to cure the unconstitutional provisions in the treaty.

As for Pangilinan, who was Santiago’s student in law school, the often outspoken woman senator said: “If he were still my student in the UP College of Law, it is conceivable that I would have flunked him and I would advised him to take another course.”